The Japanese police and Line Corp. have reported a rise in hacked Line accounts.
Similar to other messaging apps such as Viber and WhatsApp, Line offers users free calls and messages through a data connection. It has slowly increased its user base throughout the year and the company reported it has 175 million active users in April, just behind the Facebook-owned WhatsApp and China’s WeChat.
According to Line Corp., the first hack was reported in late May of this year – their first hacked account since they launched the app in 2011. Through mid-June, reported hacks increased past 300 cases.
The scam itself is run-of-the-mill. Hackers assume the hacked user’s identity and ask the user’s contacts to buy prepaid cards on their behalf. Police reported monetary losses of 654,000 yen from hacking cases this week alone. On 4 July, two people lost 220,000 yen due to the scam in the Shiga Prefecture.
Protect those apps
In fairly run-of-the-mill fashion as well, Line Corp. and the Japanese police have followed the script rather well. The police issued warnings, telling Line users to keep their usernames and passwords secret.
Line recommends users to set different IDs and passwords for every online service (which, let’s be real, a bit of a tall order sometimes) and to pick complicated passwords using random combinations of numbers and symbols on top of letters. Which is to say, did no one learn from XKCD’s “correcthorsebatterystaple”?
A Line spokesperson claims that user information didn’t leak from company servers and hackers couldn’t steal information just by looking at friends list, which all signals that Line might need to hire a better PR team.
At the moment, if you think your Line account was hacked, the best solution is to contact them online and request your account to be deleted.
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