Monday, March 4, 2024

Is this Malaysian “university” promoting online casino?

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In this age and time, you have to make it a habit to verify everything that you see online. Case in point: this website may look like it belonged to the Institute of China Studies (ICSUM) at Universiti Malaya (UM) but that is not the case at all.

The real ICSUM does not engage in online gambling

In general, what you saw here is a classic case of digital identity theft.  For some out there, you may already be able to spot the signs right away.

Of course, the biggest sign is the fact that this fake ICSUM website is offering online casino credits. While the banner above is quite obvious, the other banner which includes a clickable link is much more subtle and uses an actual photo of the institute:

ICSUM Identify Theft

When you click the link in the banner, you will end up at this online casino:

ICSUM Identify Theft
This online casino clearly targets Malaysians given that it supports money transfer via FPX.

Meanwhile, the fake ICSUM website also has several sections that are dedicated to 10 online casinos:

ICSUM Identify Theft

The other sign that this is a fake website is the “University of Malaya” name. While the university might be known to some by this name, UM used “Universiti Malaya” in all of its official websites and communications.

We have since reached out to UM who have said that ICSUM has a different URL together with is tied to UM’s domain. This is what the real website looks like:

ICSUM Actual Website

Did MYNIC overlook the registration of this domain?

What made this case slightly more perplexing is that the fake ICSUM website has org.my web address. In general, the national-level domain name is regulated and you need a certificate of registration from the Registrar of Societies to register an org.my domain.

ICSUM ORG MY WHOIS
The WHOIS search results for the URL address that belonged to the fake ICSUM’s website.

However, it might be possible that the registration was done properly but someone has changed the nameserver settings and pointed it out to the fake ICSUM website. That being said, the ICSUM website has a different URL altogether, as mentioned earlier.

On a related note, UM has since acknowledged our discovery and is currently “in the midst of taking the next course of action”. We have also alerted relevant authorities regarding this incident.

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