PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) continue their crackdown on text messages meant to scam unsuspecting mobile users. Through PLDT’s Cybersecurity Operations Group (CSOG), blocked more than a hundred internet links or URLs from June 10-28.
For the first half of 2022, PLDT and Smart blocked a total of 640 URLs and domains.
“Smishing” or SMS phishing in the Philippines started during the pandemic when many people lost their jobs. The text scams contain messages offering jobs and unbelievable pay rates and along with that are links supposed applicants need to click. Those malicious links will lure victims to reveal personal information.
“Apart from blocking malicious text messages and SIMs, PLDT and Smart are also clamping down on URLs or domains that are often linked to ‘smishing’ activities,” said Angel Redoble, first vice president and chief information security officer, PLDT. “This adds another layer of protection for our customers and prevents access to these sites that target their personal data.”
The CSOG team explains that the internet is made up of three layers. The first layer, called the surface layer, is any site accessible to anyone. This constitutes about 10% of the internet. Below it is the deep web which houses exclusive sites for specific groups or subscriptions that require login credentials. Hidden in the deep web and making up a small fraction of it, is the dark web which is a hotbed for illegal activities. The dark web does not appear on search engines and needs a special browser to be accessed. (Ninety percent) 90% of the internet is believed to be made up of the deep web and the dark web.
“Most phishing sites are tucked in the deep web,” Redoble explained. “When cybercriminals have acquired the victim’s personal data, they use this to access the victim’s bank accounts or trade them on the dark web.”