Shmishing

Smishing is a portmanteau of “SMS” (short message services, better known as texting) and “phishing.” When cybercriminals “phish,” they send fraudulent emails that seek to trick the recipient into opening a malware-laden attachment or clicking on a malicious link. Smishing simply uses text messages instead of email.  (usa.Kaspersky.com)

Between 2021 and 2022 spam texts have risen nearly 60%.

Most spam text messages aren’t coming from another phone, rather they are likely originating from a computer and being delivered to your phone – at no cost to the sender – via an email address or an instant messaging account. 

Not all spam text messages are scams, but they very often are. 

You’ve seen them:  You’ve won something you need to redeem; You’re being offered low or no interest credit cards; They’ve been trying to reach you; There’s a problem with your payment method; There’s a notification about a delivery package – and so on.  Typically trying to create a sense of urgency. 

What about the one where you get a text from yourself!  By using the cell owner’s own number, it can evade the phones “filter unknown messages” – I mean, it’s your OWN number.

Plus, if you’ve ever responded to a spam text message, even accidentally, your phone number was likely tagged as valid and may have been sold on to other spammers, increasing your odds of getting more junk messages and SMS spam.

So what are we to do? 

The security advice we at IP Services provide for guarding against smishing isn’t any different from the advice for protecting other devices.  Make sure your software and browser are up-to-date.  You have probably noticed whether it’s Android, iOS, Chrome or Safari, their pushed updates almost always have added security features.  Don’t fall behind on those!

And remember, don’t click, don’t respond, don’t open any links.  Don’t respond even if the message says you can “text STOP” to avoid more messages. 

)Wireless customers can report spam messages by copying the message and forwarding it to 7726 (SPAM)).

SmiShing isn’t going away and will likely increase in the short term.  There was a flurry of this activity during COVID-19 and now with other world events, there is an undeniable uptick.  Be diligent and practice safe computing on all your devices. 

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