Filtered By: Money

Globe, Smart intensify efforts to combat text scams

Mobile network service providers Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc. are intensifying their efforts to combat text scams amid the spread of spam or unsolicited text messages that contain the names of subscribers.

In a statement, Globe said it has already spent $20 million or roughly P1.1 billion to boost its capabilities in detecting and blocking scam and spam messages from international and domestic sources, including app-to-person and person-to-person SMS. 
The Ayala-led telco said it also maintains a 24/7 security operations center, with over 100 people working to detect attacks, breaches, spam and text messages. 

From January to July of this year, Globe said it was able to block 784 million scam and spam messages, deactivate 14,058 scam-linked SIMs, and blacklist 8,973 others.

The Ayala-led telco added that it had blocked 610 domains or URLs.
In a separate statement, Smart said that the mobile network and its parent telco PLDT invested nearly P3 billion last year to safeguard the public against emerging cyber threats and vulnerabilities, including online fraud and other criminal activities.   
Smart said it blocked more than 11 billion attempts to open links associated with spam messages from January to August of this year. 

This was made possible by the company’s efforts to prevent access to more than 9,000 Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) tied to the illegal activity, the Pangilinan-led telco said.

Smart added that its SMS Firewall Blocking has prevented more than 300 million malicious messages from reaching its customers in the first eight months of the year. 
It also blacklisted around 167,000 listed accounts that have been found to be sources of these fraudulent messages.
During the House information and communications technology panel hearing on Monday, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) was asked where scammers might have obtained the names and some personal details of people they are targeting. 

NPC deputy commissioner Leandro Aguirre said that while it would be difficult to trace the sender of spam messages since there could be numerous possible sources, the privacy body was coordinating with Viber and GCash to see if there was unusual activity that resulted in some scraping of data.

Meanwhile, Globe said GCash was able to block 900,000 fraudulent accounts from January 2021 to March 2022 as well as help arrest fraudsters.
“At a time of aggressive cybercriminal activity amid growing digitalization, Globe asserts that the public, government and industry players, including telcos, are all victims of these illegal acts. It is, thus, a shared fight among all of us to beat our common enemy, which is cybercrime,” said Anton Bonifacio, Globe chief information security officer.
"We work closely with the National Telecommunications Commission and the Data Privacy Commission in pursuit of our common goal to crack down on cybercriminals and protect data privacy. GCash also coordinated with law enforcement agencies such as the Philippine National Police–Anti-Cybercrime Group and the National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Division on reported scamming incidents, which have led to arrest and prosecution.”
“There’s no recent cybersecurity incident that may have allowed criminals to breach our infrastructure and steal customer data to be targeted in their fraudulent activities,” said Angel Redoble, chief information security officer of PLDT and Smart. 
“We believe that the recent smishing attacks are being perpetrated by local operators. We continue to work with law enforcement agencies to track down criminals."
The NPC is now investigating the incidence of spam or unsolicited text messages that contain the names of subscribers or recipients.
The NTC had earlier ordered telcos to once again blast warnings to the public concerning the new variety of spam text messages. — VBL, GMA News