PLDT, Smart employ adaptive strategy vs cyberthreats

The Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) of PLDT and its wireless mobile unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) highlighted the importance of an evolving strategy in protecting customers against cyberattacks.

Speaking at the recent PhilSec 2022 Hybrid Summit on “Building a Cyber-resilient Philippines,” Angel Redoble, FVP and chief information security officer of the PLDT Group, said that since the last quarter of 2018, the PLDT Group’s CSOG has adopted the “Balanced Scorecard” approach to handling cybersecurity situations.

“The ‘Balanced Scorecard’ dictates whether it is imperative to improve a strategy, to change a strategy, or to add another strategy,” Redoble said. “Strategy in cybersecurity is a moving target. Your strategy will depend on how your environment adapts to new technology.”

PLDT, Smart continue clamp down vs smishing
PLDT, Smart block more than 23 million ‘smishing’ messages in three days

As web threats evolved, PLDT and Smart have implemented new processes and expanded tools to strengthen their cybersecurity posture, especially in clamping down “smishing” (SMS phishing or text scam) activities. The group also said it continues to engage different stakeholders to dive deeper into the modus and to update existing game plans against malicious text messages.

“In cybersecurity, users are often considered the weakest link,” Redoble said. But at PLDT and Smart, they are our force multipliers. Every time there is suspected phishing, they report it to us. Every time they don’t understand something, they think about cybersecurity. Pursuing a culture of cybersecurity is something that should be a priority.”

Blocking URLs, domains

In June, PLDT and Smart have blocked more than 100 URLs and domains linked to text scams, bringing the total links blocked to 650 in the first half of the year.

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

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.