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Telco blocks over 77K SIM cards in anti-smishing crackdown

June 11, 2022 People's Tonight 519 views

LOCAL mobile service provider Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) has so far blocked over 77,000 SIM cards this year as part of its crackdown on “smishing” or cybersecurity attacks via text messages that aim to steal personal data.

In a statement on Friday, Smart said these SIM cards were blocked from January to May this year, more than double compared to the same period last year.

The PLDT Group, Smart’s parent company, has been blocking an average of more than 15,000 SIM cards tied to fraudulent activity per month.

“This was made possible by the additional tools employed by the Group coupled with expanded detection efforts in identifying mobile numbers being used in the fraudulent activity. PLDT and Smart also coordinate with SMS aggregators when suspicious messages are traced on their network,” it said.

Smishing attacks, commonly in the form of job offers, also occur online and contain links to websites that lure individuals into giving up personal data.

These data are used by cyber criminals to access a person’s bank accounts or digital wallets and their social networks to look for other potential victims.

“From mid-February to May this year, PLDT and Smart have blocked more than 500 domains specifically linked to smishing, while the Group has further blocked more than 10,000 domains tied to phishing since July 2021,” it said.

In 2021, it said almost PHP3 billion were invested by the PLDT Group in cybersecurity infrastructure “to safeguard the public against emerging cyber threats and vulnerabilities, including online fraud and other criminal activities.”

“These major investments have strengthened the PLDT group’s predictive, detective, and responsive capabilities, acquiring more than 200 million cyber threat intelligence information, and detecting and preventing close to 300 million combined types of cyber-attacks last year,” it said.

On Thursday, Globe Telecom Inc. (Globe) encouraged smartphone users to use automatic anti-smishing filters on messaging apps to help against spam or scam messages from unknown senders.

In 2021, Globe blocked a total of 1.15 billion scams and spam messages, around 7,000 mobile numbers linked to scammers, and 2,000 social media accounts and phishing sites. Philippine News Agency