Police seek foreign assistance on cases of deceitful emails and websites – TVM NEWS

Posted On August 30, 2021
Report: Liam Carter

The Police has requested foreign assistance following the wave of deceitful electronic sites and emails who use the Prime Minister’s and Leader of Opposition’s names to send them to various persons.

The Prime Minister even requested the Cybersecurity National Committee to use its knowledge and present proposals on how the fight against those who abuse with online content, can be strengthened.

TVM investigated these cases which, according to the Police, the origin of many of the deceitful sites are abroad.

The Information Technology Agency (MITA) said that a number of measures are being taken to block what is known as spoofing.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said that Dr Abela himself was victim of a similar attempt on the 15th of this month, when emails were sent to journalists in his name.

It was pointed out that a report was immediately lodged with MITA, and expressed concern that in recent days there were attempts to publicly publish a number of articles aimed specifically to deceive the public.

Even the Opposition leader Bernard Grech said on a Facebook page that he was informed with fake emails in his name, which were circulating as part of this misinformation campaign in Malta.

Both the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader condemned these acts, which they said have no place in society.

Inspector Timothy Zammit, head of the Police Cybercrime Unit, told TVM that many of these deceitful website originate from abroad.

“Some two weeks ago, the Police were notified with electronic messages which were personificating some persons, originating from deceitful websites. With regards to both websites and messages there are ongoing investigations by the Police, on the basis that they were being used to harass someone and also we are considering other crimes”.

Inspector Zammit said that the success of investigations depend on the collaboration for international companies who are sheltering these websites registered with them.

MITA’s security information head, Jonathan Cassar, told TVM that there are two forms of spoofing

“You either have an email spoof where someone is sending an email pretending to be another person or there are spoofing websites where someone creates a website with a similar address and content, but then the content is changed in a way to sending untruth messages”.

Mr Cassar said it is not the first time that MITA saw spoofing attacks with deceitful emails that gave the impression of being sent by Government officials and requesting money.

The MITA official said that there are a number of measures that companies can adopt to block similar emails.

In the coming days, MITA will meet with the Institute of Maltese Journalists to offer technical assistance to newsrooms affected by these attacks.