Home Security SMS phishing on the up, says cyber security firm

First via email, and now by the invasion of your mobile phone, phishing has gone SMS and is one of the next major attack vectors.

Statistics portal Statista reports that mobile phone use in Australia will grow to 19.4 million handsets in 2017. But there are no commercially available SMS inbound filtering products as there are for email. Cyber criminals are using stolen mobile phones and their SIMs to send the messages free.

Proofpoint has discovered a raft of cyber scams sending socially engineered SMS messages to trick users. The gap in defences is increased as the smaller mobile screens make it difficult to determine if URLs and websites are fake or legitimate. 

Proofpoint says SMS phishing has evolved from a single SMS bearing a dodgy URL to load malware, to a sophisticated two- or three-stage system to collect the victim’s phone number, zip code, email address, email password, credit card information and (in the US) their social security number.

Even if recipients become suspicious, attackers already have an active (tested) phone number and access to an associated email account. This may be enough information to port the phone number away from the original provider and take control of a victim's online identity. In many cases, recipients will also enter credit card data and social security numbers, allowing the attackers to immediately engage in financial fraud and identity theft as well.

The scam goes like this (US Bank example used)

First SMS offers simple one click fix. It also proves your phone number is active and is good for more SMS phishing.

PP1 N

 

Second SMS - Whoops that did not work. Go to the website. This just strengthens your resolve.

 

PP2 N

 

Website looks OK and they are not asking for you password etc, just to verify who you are. They get your phone number and zip/postcode.

PPP 3

 

PPP 4

Now they have your email address (works for Gmail, Yahoo! and more)

 PPP 5

 

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

 

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