WhatsApp has been making the news for the past few days thanks to its "confusing" privacy updates and subsequent backlashes. As the buzz around WhatsApp continues to grow, a year-old global WhatsApp scam seems to have recently resurfaced in Bangladesh.
How the scam works
Shakawat Hossain, an employee of a leading financial institution, is one of the recent victims of this scam. "I received a simple SMS from a colleague mentioning that he sent me six-digit code by mistake and asking to send the code back to him urgently. As it was a trusted colleague's number, I didn't suspect much. Next thing I know, I was logged out of my WhatsApp account," said Shakawat. "I later found out that my colleague's account was hacked first and the hackers later used his number to send me the text," he added.
How the scam works is surprisingly simple and crude. Every time we set up WhatsApp on a new phone, WhatsApp sends us an SMS with a one-time code that we must enter to start receiving WhatsApp messages on that phone. The purpose of the code is to confirm that the number is in our possession. What the hackers do is that they use an already hacked account to contact one of the victim's friends. Like the SMS sent to Shakawat, they ask for the code they have "mistakenly" sent. The new victim, believing that they're just helping their friend, sends the code back to the hacker and just like that, their own WhatsApp is also hacked. The hacker can then receive new WhatsApp messages and see what groups they belong to, but thankfully, cannot view old messages.
How to prevent
This crude scam involves no technological sorcery, making it surprisingly effective and easy and without a software patch to prevent it. However, there is another way that most WhatsApp users are not aware of. The one-time code usually sent to new phones is auto generated from WhatsApp itself. But you can set your own six-digit PIN from the "Two-Step Verification" setting, accessible from Settings>Account from within the app.
With this PIN set up, WhatsApp will ask you for the PIN you set, whenever you are installing WhatsApp on a new phone with your number, rendering the scam ineffective.
And of course, never send any code or PIN back to anyone, no matter who it is, unless you are one hundred per cent sure.- Source: The Daily Star
Trump's last-minute pardons include Bannon, Lil Wayne and scores of ....
President Donald Trump issued a raft of 11th-hour pardons and commutations early Wednesday that included his onetime political strategist, a former top fundraiser and two well-known rappers but not himself or his family.
The batch of 73 pardons and 70 commutations issued in the final hours of his presidency was expected, and is in keeping with a long-standing presidential tradition of exercising clemency powers at the last minute. The list reflected a President keen on awarding pardons to his stalwart allies, an unusual number of whom have been swept up in corruption or lying charges.
The vast majority of the pardons and commutations on Trump's list were doled out to individuals whose cases have been championed by criminal justice reform advocates, including people serving lengthy sentences for low-level offenses. But several controversial names do appear, including Steve Bannon, who has pleaded not guilty to charges he defrauded donors in a "We Build the Wall" online fundraising campaign. Trump had spent the past days deliberating over a pardon for the man who helped him win the presidency in 2016 and followed him to the White House. During his final hours in office there was a frantic debate underway behind the scenes on whether to grant Bannon a pardon.
One concern was Bannon's possible connection to the January 6 riot of Trump supporters at the US Capitol, according to a source familiar with the discussions.
Over the course of Tuesday, Trump continued to contemplate pardons that aides believed were settled, including for his former strategist. The President continued to go back and forth on it into Tuesday night, sources told CNN.
Other names included Tuesday were Elliott Broidy, a former top fundraiser for Trump's campaign who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy relating to a secret lobbying campaign to influence the Trump administration on behalf of a foreign billionaire in exchange for millions of dollars.
The rapper Lil Wayne received a pardon after pleading guilty to a gun possession charge in Miami. Another rapper, Kodak Black, received a commutation after he pleaded guilty to a weapons charge.
Trump also offered clemency to Paul Erickson, the conservative political operative and ex-boyfiend of alleged Russian spy Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges; Robin Hayes, a North Carolina political donor convicted of trying to bribe officials; Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, convinced of federal charges including racketeering, extortion and the filing of false tax returns; William Walters, a professional sports gambler convicted of insider trading; and Aviem Sella, an Israeli air force officer who the US accused of being a spy.
Bob Zangrillo, the Miami developer and venture capitalist charged in the Varsity Blues college admission scandal, also received a pardon. None of the other parents caught up in the probe were pardoned.
Though neither Trump or members of his family were included on his list, Trump has until noon on Wednesday to issue any final pardons before leaving office.
Trump's final acts of clemency come after a scramble in recent days among criminal justice reform advocates and several White House officials to finalize the list and convince Trump to approve the actions. These pardons will undoubtedly be overshadowed by the slew of controversial ones Trump also issue in the same final batch on Tuesday.
While outgoing presidents typically issue pardons before leaving office, Trump has proven more willing to use his pardon power to brazenly reward political loyalty, the wealthy and well-connected and those who did not cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
The January 6 riots that led to Trump's second impeachment have complicated his desire to pardon himself, his kids and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and a source close to the process said those are no longer expected.
After the riot, advisers encouraged Trump to forgo a self-pardon because it would appear like he was guilty of something, according to one person familiar with the conversations. Several of Trump's closest advisers have also urged him not to grant clemency to anyone involved in the siege on the US Capitol, despite Trump's initial stance that those involved had done nothing wrong.
Refocus on pardons
After weeks focusing on contesting the election and reeling from the fallout of the January 6 insurrection, Trump finally snapped back to attention on pardons in recent days, one source said.
"You couldn't get the President to focus on this," a source close to the process said of Trump in recent weeks. "And then this weekend, he didn't have his Twitter, he didn't have all these other distractions."
Trump, who sank deeper into lame duck status in recent weeks, was reminded that his pardon power is one of the remaining undiminished aspects of his presidential power. This source said Trump also resonated with cases in which individuals who went to trial got significantly more prison time than co-defendants who cooperated with law enforcement.
"I don't think he likes when people get screwed just because they go to trial," this source said.
While Jared Kushner has been closely involved in pardons throughout his time at the White House, this source said that Ivanka Trump became much more closely involved in the push for pardons in recent days. Together, Kushner and Ivanka Trump worked with the White House counsel's office and Justice Department while also working to convince Trump to support a series of clemency actions in the vein of criminal justice reform.
After meetings this weekend, Trump met again with his daughter, son-in-law and other White House officials on Monday to finalize the list of clemency actions.