PLDT and wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) have ramped up efforts to protect customers against ‘smishing’ or cybersecurity attacks via text messages that aim to steal the victim’s personal data.  

From January to May this year, PLDT and Smart have blocked almost 78,000 SIMs related to smishing, more than double the number compared to the same period in 2021. Since the start of 2022, the PLDT Group has been blocking, on average, more than 15,000 SIMs tied to the fraudulent activity every month. This was made possible by the additional tools employed by the Group coupled with expanded detection efforts in identifying mobile numbers being used in the fraudulent activity. PLDT and Smart also coordinate with SMS aggregators when suspicious messages are traced on their network. 

PLDT and Smart’s efforts to keep customers safe from scam ‘job offers’ also extend to cyberspace. 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 since July 2021. Smishing often contain links to websites that lure customers into giving up their personal data. Cyber criminals then use the information to access customers’ bank accounts or digital wallets or infiltrate customers’ personal network and look for potential victims.   

“We, at PLDT and Smart, have proactively blocked mobile numbers that have been involved in smishing activities. Once detected by our team, even in the absence of a complaint from our customers, we shut that mobile number out of our network. We continue to engage our customers, sharing with them useful tips on identifying malicious messages and protecting their personal data. We also work with relevant government offices, as well as law enforcement agencies, to effectively combat fraud and cybercrime,” said Angel Redoble, FVP and Chief Information Security Officer at PLDT and Smart.

PLDT and Smart have been relentless in fortifying their cybersecurity defenses, investing nearly ₱3 billion in cybersecurity infrastructure in 2021, to safeguard the public against emerging cyber threats and vulnerabilities, including online fraud and other criminal activities.  

These major investments have strengthened the PLDT group’s predictive, detective, and responsive capabilities, acquiring more than 200 million cyber threat intelligence information, and detecting and preventing close to 300 million combined types of cyber attacks last year.

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