what is Smishing?

What is smishing and how can it impact you? Smishing is a combination of SMS and phishing. A form of text message phishing, smishing may be used by cybercriminals to obtain your financial data or access your computer remotely. Smishing works by sending you an SMS or text message that looks legitimate, requesting that you provide personal information, such as your credit card number.

“Cybercriminals frequently carry out smishing attacks today because text messages are more frequently trusted than emails. This misplaced faith may have contributed to the over 300% increase in smishing frauds over the previous two years.”

Are you familiar with the scenario when someone claims you’ve won the lottery? Or a gift? Have you ever considered whether that call was accurate or complied with the regulations? If so, you probably have received a smishing (SMS phishing). This is why we need to know what is smishing and how to avoid getting caught in this trap.

Recent Smishing Attacks

Smishing scams have targeted several Irish retail banks and their clients, especially since the summer of 2020 and the start of COVID-19.

Smishing communications frequently scare you by stating that you must respond immediately to avoid experiencing catastrophic consequences.

Your bank may inform you through a text message, for instance, that your bank card, account, or online access has been suspended or blocked due to “strange activity” or fraudulent activities.

An SMS message will notify you to click a link to unlock or unfreeze your account.

Common Methods for Smishing

More than seven in ten respondents to an IT professional survey conducted in 2020 and 2021 stated that they had encountered smishing attacks during the previous examined year. This rose from 61% of respondents who said they had experienced smishing in 2020. 

Hackers use Social engineering to plot a smishing:

  • Malware – You can be tricked into downloading malware or opening a link to a malicious website containing a virus or spyware.
  • Sharing your banking credentials – Attackers may urge you to submit your banking credentials on a spoofed website and drain your savings completely by accessing your account.
  • Sharing your corporate login information: Attackers may ask you to sign in using your corporate login information to gain access to your company’s internal systems and sensitive databases.

How does Smishing work?

Smishing operations are carried out in quite a simple manner. Let’s have a look at it:

  1. To mislead you into thinking their communication is authentic, a hacker sends you a text message utilizing social engineering techniques.
  2. You either click on the malicious link attached to this SMS or provide them access to personal data like usernames, passwords, emails, etc.
  3. Once your information is hacked, the hacker uses it to perpetrate fraud or sell stolen information on the dark web.

Why is Smishing becoming more common?

Smishing is increasing for a variety of causes. The fact that it’s a simple hoax to carry out is a key one. The con artist only needs a few phone numbers and a cunning method of getting individuals to text back to gather the necessary information.

People also adore SMS texts. Within three minutes, 95% of text messages are opened and replied to. You can see how texting scams may be more alluring to a thief, given that just 20% of emails are even opened, much less responded to.

Types of Smishing Attacks

There are several types of smishing attacks. They include:

Covid-19 Smishing: Covid-19 smishing is a phishing scam that uses WhatsApp’s social media application to send out messages to victims. The messages claim that the user has won a gift and encourages them to click on a link. Clicking on the link will result in the virus being downloaded onto your computer.

Gift Smishing: Gift smishing is another type of phishing scam that uses social media applications like Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp to send out messages to victims. The message claims that the recipient has won a gift and encourages them to click on a link. Upon clicking the link, malware will be downloaded onto your computer.

Fake Services Smishing: The fake service smishing attack involves an attacker sending out emails claiming they can fix problems with computers or devices, such as viruses or other issues with software or hardware. These emails often include attachments that contain malicious software which can install Trojans or other forms of malware onto your device without your knowledge.

Invoice or Order Confirmation Smishing: A business sends an invoice or order confirmation via text message. The user enters their payment information on a fake website when they click on the link in the message. The goal is to get them to download malware onto their device.

Financial Services Smishing: Messages are sent to users from their bank or credit card companies alerting them of suspicious activity on their accounts. They think they’ll be able to check their accounts, but instead, they download malware onto their devices.

What is Smishing Prevention?

How to stop Smishing Attacks?

Knowing what to avoid will help you avoid becoming a victim. Here are some tips that can help protect you from smishing scams:

Never Respond

Never responding to smishing SMS is the first rule to follow. You could confirm a working number for the hacker in addition to potentially causing the malware to be installed on your device. Then, they can employ it in more fraud schemes or incorporate it into a list to resell for profit on the dark web.

Contact Banks or Retailers Directly

By posing as reputable companies and banking organizations in smishing SMS, cybercriminals frequently attempt to pose as reputable companies and banking organizations in smishing SMS. The best action is to get in touch with the bank or shop immediately if you receive a text and wonder about its veracity.

Use 2FA

Two-factor authentication can provide an additional layer of security if you fall victim to a smishing scam and reveal one of your credentials. When you try to log in, biometric technology employs facial recognition and fingerprint technologies to confirm your identity.

Conclusion

So if you’re confused about what is smishing, it’s a little like phishing, except you’re getting SMS instead of emails, but, in the end, it is all the same since it is your information and assets that is at stake. 

For email phishing prevention, we recommend that you deploy a DMARC analyzer at your organization to protect your domain against unauthorized use. DMARC experts will also give you information on the state of your email domain’s security posture and help you formulate a strategy for the future.

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