Fact Check : Is Semak.Info A Phishing Website?!

Fact Check : Is Semak.Info A Phishing Website?!

Is the Semak.Info website used to check for GE15 voter information really a phishing website?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Semak.Info Is A Phishing Website!

After the official voter information website by the Malaysia Election Commission (SPR) went down a day before the GE15 election day,, people were advised to try an alternative voter information website called Semak.Info.

However, this warning then went viral later that day, claiming that the Semak.Info website is really a phishing website!

The app.semak.info is a phishing site to track your mobile number. Please be informed. Please do not forward. Thanks.

 

Truth : Semak.Info Is NOT A Phishing Website!

This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS circulating on WhatsApp and social media, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : Semak.Info + App.Semak.Info Are Different Pages

First, let me point out that Semak.Info, and App.Semak.Info are two different pages on the same website. Think of them as two different rooms in the same office.

Semak.Info is the public-facing page, where users can check their GE15 voter information. Think of it as the information desk at your office.

 

App.Semak.Info, on the other hand, appears to be the website administrator’s page. Think of it as the back office.

That’s why it has a login page, just like how your back office would have a door with a lock – so that the public can’t just walk inside.

 

Fact #2 : Phishing Websites Masquerade As Genuine Websites

Phishing (pronounced as fishing) is a social engineering attack that attempts to obtain your login information, or personal information like credit card and bank account numbers, etc.

Hackers accomplish this by creating fake websites that look like the real website, to trick you into revealing sensitive information like your bank account login and password, or your security questions.

The Semak.Info page does not ask for any login or critical personal information, so it is not a phishing website.

The App.Semak.Info page is blank, with a simple login function. It does not pretend to be an SPR or banking website, and so it is also not a phishing website.

Fact #3 : Semak.Info Is Owned By DAP

When Semak.Info was first circulated, I too was concerned about this “unknown” website. But a quick check showed that the Democratic Action Party (DAP) was the one promoting its use on Facebook.

I did a little digging, and confirmed that the Semak.Info domain is owned by the Democratic Action Party. It also looked like they bought the domain, and developed the website for GE14, way back in 2017.

Fact #4 : Phone Number Used To Send WhatsApp

Some people asked me why this Semak.Info website would require a phone number, when the official SPR website does not require one to obtain voter information.

What they may not realise is that the DAP team added a WhatsApp messaging feature to their Semak.Info website.

Once you key in your phone number and identity card number, the website will give you your voter information. At the bottom though is a blue Whatsapp [sic] button.

If you click on that button, the website will attempt to send a WhatsApp message to that phone number you keyed in earlier, with key voting information.

It doesn’t automatically send the message. You are given a preview of the message, and you will need to tap on the “Continue to Chat” button to actually send that message to the phone number.

Fact #5 : You Can Use A Fake Phone Number

You may be worried that the DAP team could be harvesting your phone number, and tying it to your identification card number.

Frankly speaking, that kind of data is already easily available and sold (illegally) to marketers and scammers alike. So no one actually needs to “scam” you into keying your phone number.

If you are worried, you can use a fake phone number with this website. Just key in any 7-digit number, with a legitimate 3-digit telco prefix (like 011, 012, 017, 018, etc.), and you are good to go.

Please WATCH OUT about such FAKE NEWS on WhatsApp and social media. They are designed to suppress voter turnout in the 15th General Election.

Regardless of what you may read or see on social media, please take the time and effort to cast your vote. This is not only your right, it is your responsibility as a citizen of Malaysia.

Remember – democracy does not guarantee us a good government. Democracy only guarantees us the right to vote out a bad government!

Happy voting on 19 November 2022!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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