PNP, GCash warn against Powerstar Backdoor Malware


Device linking has recently become popular among those who want to be flexible and spontaneous in their daily digital activities. However, an emerging threat known as the Powerstar Backdoor Malware is also on the rise to exploit a technology that was meant to make lives easier. This malware targets the PC (Personal Computer) operating system and infects linked mobile phones or tablets to phish sensitive data.

The Powerstar Backdoor Malware is a type of computer virus that can extract sensitive information via a persistent backdoor.  A single click on a malicious link, attachment, or prompt to download a deceptive update can infect linked devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, or desktops, allowing sensitive information such as e-wallets and bank accounts to be extracted.

To protect the public from this particular cyber-attack, the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) and GCash, the country's no. 1 fintech super app, share the following guidelines.

PC users are advised to update their software for the latest security patches and enhancements. Choosing only reputable antivirus and anti-malware software can significantly enhance user protection. Users should enable firewalls and be conscious of unusual and suspicious behavior on their devices. They should use strong and unique passwords for all their accounts.

Users are also advised to exercise caution with email attachments, especially those from unfamiliar and dubious sources, when using devices and should constantly be alert for phishing links from email, messaging apps, or social media posts. Prudence must be exercised while downloading software, and should only be done from trusted sources.

Additionally, GCash reiterates its warning to users never to disclose their MPIN or OTP and to avoid clicking on unknown links from websites, emails, or messaging apps. For assistance, users can contact the PNP-ACG through their hotlines at (02) 8414-1560 or 0998-598-8116, or via email at To report scams and fraudulent activities, users can also visit the official GCash Help Center at or message Gigi on the website and type “I want to report a scam.” Customers can also contact the official GCash hotline at 2882 for inquiries and other concerns.

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