SMS phishing or Smishing is the practice of using text messages to trick someone into handing over personal information or downloading malware in an attempt to steal money or personal information.
SMS phishing or Smishing is the practice of using text messages to trick someone into handing over personal information or downloading malware in an attempt to steal money or personal information. Text message scams are similar to phishing in that they aim to acquire sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, by pretending to be a trustworthy business or person in a text message.
The sender of the text message asks the receiver to provide personal information by sending a link to a fraudulent website that looks exactly like the authentic one. To give the impression that the messages are coming from a reputable company or firm, fake information is frequently used in their drafting.
Due to the widespread usage of smartphones, smishing has increased in favour of hackers. It allows them to steal important personal or financial information without having to compromise a computer or network's security defences. There is a growing public awareness of phishing, smishing, and other attacks because of the increasing number of events that make the headlines.
According to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), the number of people who have fallen victim to online fraud, smishing, vishing (phishing via phone, where a hacker calls or leaves a voicemail), and pharming (where a hacker leads users to a false website in order to acquire sensitive information) will reach over 240,000 by 2020, costing over $54 million. To put that into perspective, in the same report from 2020, the total number of malware and virus attacks that were reported was just more than 1,400, and the total amount of money lost was only about $7 million.
Every single SMS phishing attack is built on a foundation of misinformation and fraudulent activity. As the attacker takes on a persona that you are more likely to believe, you will have a higher tendency to comply with their demands.
Smishing is a form of social engineering in which an attacker attempts to persuade a victim into changing their decision-making process. The motivations behind this fraud can be broken down into three categories:
Sending context-based SMSes: An effective disguise can be constructed by an attacker by using a scenario that may be of interest to their targets. Since the letter appears to have been written specifically for the recipient, it is easier to disregard any concerns that it could be spam.
Impersonation of reputable companies: Cybercriminals are able to trick their targets into trusting them more easily by impersonating respectable individuals and organisations. Since SMS texts are a more personal communication medium, they have the natural effect of lowering a person's defences when they are exposed to threats.
Emotional Manipulation: Attackers can thwart the critical thinking of their victims by manipulating their emotions, causing them to act more quickly and carelessly.
By asking the recipient to visit a phishing website via a text link, attackers often hope that the recipient would enter their personal information. A phishing software typically takes the shape of a website or app, both of which mask their true identities and pose as legitimate sources of information.
Many factors go into the selection of targets, but the most common is their association with an organisation or proximity to a particular geographic region. It is possible to target people who work at a specific company or are consumers of that company, as well as mobile network subscribers, students at a particular university, and even local inhabitants.
Confirmation smishing is the practice of confirming a recent order or billing invoice for a service by sending a fake confirmation message. A follow-up link may be supplied to spark your interest or encourage you to take immediate action. A succession of order confirmation SMSes or the omission of a business name is also possible indicators that you have been victimised by this scam.
Attackers who engage in customer support smishing will pretend to be a trusted representative of the company in order to assist you in resolving a problem. High-profile technology and e-commerce firms like Apple, Google, and Amazon serve as excellent guises for would-be intruders.
Attackers frequently say there is a problem with your account, and then offer instructions for resolving it. The request could be as easy as using a fake login page, or it could be as complex as asking you for a real account recovery number in an attempt to change your password. Both of these methods are intended to steal your personal information.
The promise of a free product or a service from a well-known business or other company is referred to as gift smishing. These can take the form of shopping rewards, giveaway contests, or any number of other types of free offers. When an attacker attempts to heighten your excitement by bringing up the possibility of ‘free’, they are employing a logic override in the hope of hastening your response time.
In order to commit financial fraud, an attacker disguises themselves as a bank or other type of financial institution. An urgent request to access your account to verify suspicious activity on your account, and other red flags, may be indicators that you are the victim of a smishing scam involving financial services.
You can protect yourself from SMS phishing scams by remembering a few things:
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