According to a recent report by Engineering & Technology, the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF) has announced that its anti-smishing initiative will be launched in Ireland and Singapore following a successful pilot project in the UK.
The SMS Protection Registry was designed to reduce the impact of smishing — which is also known as SMS phishing and is a type of social engineering attack that targets mobile phones — in order to better protect both consumers and businesses.
Smishing scams are designed to fool consumers into sharing personal information and account details, or even sending money to fraudsters claiming to be a trusted sender.
In the UK, the Registry saw more than 300 trusted SenderIDs (the name at the top of an SMS exchange that is used to identify who sent the message) having been registered during the pilot, and over 1,500 unauthorized senders added to a growing list of blocked IDs.
By simply checking their SMS conversation to see if the sender is authorized, trusted SenderIDs make it easier for someone to spot fraudsters attempting to impersonate an individual or a brand. Any flagged IDs created to fool consumers into thinking they belong to a brand are blocked and added to a ‘denied list’, which is then circulated to all messaging partners.
“There are millions of faked SMS sent by fraudsters trying to steal passwords every day. We need to help consumers and organisations fight back,” said Dario Betti, CEO of MEF. “Thanks to the collective efforts of the British mobile industry, MEF has managed to show a way: a Registry for SMS short-code names. The fight against fraudsters is a relentless one, it will never stop.”
Smishing has been a persistent and growing threat over the past several years. In November of 2020, Bank of Ireland customers were targeted by fraudsters who sent messages telling them their cards had been compromised. A link to purportedly register for a new card was provided by the scammers which led to a website designed to harvest the unsuspecting victims’ personal information.
In Ireland, the Registry is launching with the support of three mobile network operators, several government agencies, and a number of banks, retailers and utilities.