23 November 2020 Department of Computer Science , News Media , Systems & Networking , Security , Media

When a secondary school friend contacted him out of the blue a few months ago asking for a verification code on WhatsApp, administrative executive Tan Jun Heng, 25, did not suspect anything was amiss.

His friend simply claimed to have "accidentally" sent the code to his number. But within seconds of sending the code, Mr Tan was automatically locked out of his own WhatsApp account. It had been hijacked.

Mr Tan and his friends are among a growing pool of WhatsApp users who have become victims of social hacking, where scammers use already hijacked social media accounts to contact victims by posing as their friends or family.

National University of Singapore's Associate Professor Chang Ee-Chien, whose research interests include data privacy, said the impersonation tactics used by hackers are "very low-tech, but very effective, as people tend to trust their friends or family".

With full access to their victim's account, hackers may then exploit the victim's personal relationships and ask for money from friends or family. Or, if they glean enough information about their victim's place of employment, they may also target the victim's workplace, added Prof Chang. 

However, experts say, there are preventive measures that users can take to prevent such attacks.

Ms Wong and AiSP executive committee member James Tan said setting up a two-step verification process on your WhatsApp account can prevent others from signing in to it. Users should not click on suspicious looking links, even if they are purportedly from friends or family, they added.

For impersonation scams, however, "the only solution is to not trust people", said Prof Chang. He added: "It is very important that you must presume that whoever is speaking to you on the other end is not your friend."

The Straits Times, 17 November 2020

The New Paper, 17 November 2020

 

 



15 October 2020 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Student , News Media

As international competitions move online in compliance with social distancing measures, Singapore students are flying the Singapore flag high at these virtual competitions. This was shared in a Facebook post by Minister for Education Lawrence Wong yesterday. He wrote that while the format for many international competitions such as Olympiads were altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore students nevertheless continued to excel in the Olympiads for Science, Mathematics and Informatics, and even came in first at the New Zealand Physicists’ Tournament. He also mentioned that the International Olympiad for Informatics was hosted by Singapore and organised by NUS this year, with careful planning and management undertaken by the NUS team to ensure the Olympiad’s safe execution.

Mr Wong noted that Singapore would also host the IOI again in 2021. In his post, he expressed hope that Singapore would be able to welcome participants under more favourable circumstances next year.

According to the Ministry of Education’s press release, this is the first time Singapore has hosted the IOI. President Halimah Yacob and Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat were also invited to address the participants in the IOI’s virtual opening and closing online ceremonies respectively.

The Singapore team comprising of students from Hwa Chong Institution, Raffles Institution and NUS High School of Math and Science bagged four silver and three bronze medals at this year’s IOI. The competition required participants to answer a series of questions related to programming and informatics. Participants from a total of 87 countries and regions participated in the virtual Olympiad, with Singapore ranking 19th in the Olympiad.

Lianhe Zaobao, 15 October 2020

 



05 October 2020 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Research , News Media , Systems & Networking

Three NUS researchers have developed wearable devices that help perform gait analysis. The four sensors installed at the toe and heel of the shoes can detect the speed, rotation and step length of the user's movement. The data is reflected in the app in real time for analysis by the therapist.

Dr Boyd Anderson, a lecturer from NUS Computing's Department of Computer Science, said: “If you are an elderly person, you may be more frail when walking, and being able to quantify that is very important. If you’re a sprinter, seeing how every step hits the track is also very important for say, optimising your performance. Traditionally, you would use a clinical gait mat which is pressure sensitive."

Medical gait mats take up space and are expensive, costing upwards of $10,000. The cost of this device however, is expected to be under $500. In addition to relying on an inertial measurement instrument to measure acceleration and rotation during movement, the device also combines ultra-wideband radio technology to collect step lengths and step widths that are difficult to measure. Its accuracy rate is 97%.

The four sensors mounted on the shoes run on lithium batteries and has a battery life of 18 hours per charge. The research team has already applied for a technology patent. They are working to bring this technology to professional athletes who are looking to improve their skills.

The team is also looking at ways to incorporate the sensors for use in various running shoes.

India Education Diary, 6 October 2020

BioSpectrumAsia, 5 October 2020

Channel 8, 4 October 2020

NUS News, 5 October 2020