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Record new domains blocked in 24/7 PLDT, Smart ops in war vs SMS spamming

From October 21 to November 20 this year, the group had already blocked at least 15,000 mobile numbers, as well as at least 60 domains directly related and involved in the ongoing SMS spam offering fake jobs to users.

PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) have uncovered and blocked new domains in the past 24 hours, in its war versus SMS spamming, protecting customers from fraud and scammers.

From October 21 to November 20 this year, the group had already blocked at least 15,000 mobile numbers, as well as at least 60 domains directly related and involved in the ongoing SMS spam offering fake jobs to users.

The modus was recently exposed by PLDT and Smart’s Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) as a scam, victimizing unsuspecting subscribers with promised commissions. As the scammers devise more sophisticated tactics, the Group’s threat intelligence, cybersecurity and cybercrime investigation units are also relentlessly maintaining their operations 24/7.

“We have already blocked 60 domains connected to this scam, and we are unceasingly uncovering new domains that have surfaced recently. These have already been barred from our system, preventing our subscribers from accessing malicious links and disallowing fraud to proceed. We take decisive action once we see—after conduct of a thorough investigation—that the facts show the complaint to be valid”, said Angel T. Redoble, the Chief Information Security Officer of PLDT and Smart’s Cyber Security Operations Group.

The said scheme is believed to be operating on a global scale, in which scammers successfully obtain the bank account numbers of mobile users who choose to engage.

To protect subscribers from cyber attacks, PLDT and Smart have been aggressively conducting spam detection and blocking activities against unsolicited, fake job hiring content. This month alone, the system has blocked an average of 600 mobile numbers daily, a figure which is approximately 16.5% of the total 3,435 scam and phishing sites blocked from SMS, emails, bank customer reports, and intelligence operations in November.

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Despite the sudden growth of SMS scams and phishing attacks, the numbers reveal that such malicious activities occur substantially even outside text messaging. As such, PLDT and Smart are also sustaining their collaboration with other stakeholders and government agencies for intelligence and information sharing.

“We continue to work closely with the Department of Trade and Industry, National Telecommunications Commission, and the National Privacy Commission in addressing this issue. We realize the urgency of the need to protect the public from these scammers,” said Atty. Roy D. Ibay, Smart Vice President for Regulatory Affairs.

“Having said that, we also believe that we need to balance, ensuring that when we block URLs and MINs, we do so in a manner that is fair, lawful, and responsible. We do not want to inadvertently harm legitimate users of our services in pursuit of a handful of unscrupulous individuals,” he added.

PLDT and Smart respect their subscribers’ fundamental right to privacy and commit to safeguarding their personal data. As stated in its privacy commitment, the PLDT Group will never rent or sell its subscribers’ personal data to third parties. When personal data is shared, it is done in accordance with the law or in special circumstances where the users have provided their consent.

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