Do not answer calls from unknown numbers: Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Telecommunications

On Friday, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw recommended people to avoid taking phone calls from “unknown numbers,” emphasising that the ministry’s actions had resulted in a significant decline in spam calls and incidents of cyber fraud.

During a news conference, Vaishnaw asked residents not to take calls from unknown numbers and to only react to calls from known telephone or cell numbers. He was responding to a question on the incidence of spam calls and cyber fraud.

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The minister noted his ministry’s recent introduction of the ‘Sanchar Saathi’ platform, which attempts to reduce spam calls and cyber fraud. He added that over 40 lahks incorrect SIM cards and 41,000 unauthorised “points of sale” agents had been banned. He noted that the use of artificial intelligence has played a vital role in reducing these kinds of incidents.

Individuals should only take calls from unknown numbers if they hear an identifying message from the caller, according to Vaishnaw.

Last week, the national cyber security agency issued an alert claiming that ‘Daam,’ an Android virus, is spreading and infecting mobile phones, giving unauthorised access to sensitive data such as call records, contacts, history, and the device’s camera.

The malware is capable of bypassing anti-virus programmes and spreading ransomware on targeted systems, according to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). CERT-In is the government technology organisation in charge of combatting cyber threats and protecting cyberspace from phishing, hacking, and other online attacks.

According to the organisation, the Android botnet is responsible for spreading the virus, which is typically discovered on third-party websites or programmes obtained from untrusted or unknown sources.

According to the guidance, once installed on a device, the malware attempts to circumvent security safeguards and proceeds to steal sensitive data and rights, such as reading history and bookmarks, terminating background processes, accessing call records, and more.

According to the advisory, ‘Daam’ can also hack phone call recordings, contacts, camera access, device password modification, screenshot capturing, SMS theft, file downloading/uploading, and transmission to the command-and-control (C2) server from the affected person’s device.

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