PLDT, Smart block more than 23 million ‘smishing’ messages in three days

PLDT and wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) reported that they blocked more than 23 million SMS that contain three URLs identified as phishing sites from June 11 to 14.

“Smishing” or SMS phishing is a form of social engineering done through text messages that deceive customers into thinking that these messages were sent by legitimate organizations such as banks, recruitment agencies, tour operators and other companies. These messages often contain links to websites that lure victims into revealing their personal information.

The PLDT group’s latest clampdown on smishing has expanded earlier efforts to prevent these harmful messages from reaching customers. From January to May this year, PLDT and Smart have blocked more than 600,000 text messages linked to smishing, hoaxes, and spamming.

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“We are constantly upgrading our tools to stay ahead of criminals,” said Angel Redoble, FVP and chief information security officer at PLDT and Smart. “We continue to engage our partners both in the government and private sector to keep the Group updated on the latest threats and how perpetrators run their modus,”

Cyber defense

To further protect customers from these fraudulent activities, PLDT and Smart had blocked almost 78,000 SIMs related to smishing from January to May of this year, more than doubling their efforts in the same period last year. 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.

PLDT and Smart have been fortifying their cybersecurity infrastructure, investing nearly P3 billion in 2021, to safeguard the public against emerging cyber threats and vulnerabilities, including online fraud and other criminal activities.