% WhatsApp users in Oman speak out against hacking

A considerable number of WhatsApp accounts in Oman have reportedly been hacked. According to the local press, some of the affected users have complained on Twitter. Generally, they are demanding that the necessary authorities take preventive action against WhatsApp hacks.

The Times of Oman reported that several users have taken to  Twitter to propagate the news of the cyber threat. Specifically, the WhatsApp users complained that unidentified individuals gained access to their WhatsApp accounts, and were posting and spreading content while pretending to be the owners. Reportedly, some people contacted the numbers issued by the government to prevent blackmail for help. 

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), however, absolved itself of blame. It stated that cases of maladministration of WhatsApp were beyond its jurisdiction. TRA also asked all the complainants to seek out the developers of the app in this case. 

It is noteworthy that this is not the first time that hackers in Oman have targeted WhatsApp users. In June 2018, the nation’s CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) warned of the existential threat of several WhatsApp accounts being hacked. The CERT also issued an advisory, detailing the steps to take action in case of a compromised WhatsApp account. 

The advisory stated that in case one’s account is compromised, they should inform their contact lists immediately. After reporting, there are certain steps to recover a hacked WhatsApp account. Victims must uninstall the app, and install it again. Then they must enter their phone numbers, and wait for the verification code. They must then press “forgot PIN”. These steps would suspend the account for seven days, halting the hacking process for the time being. 

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