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PLDT, Smart caution against AI-crafted phishing emails

“AI-crafted emails contain more polished, personalized messages that imitate the writing style of humans. They also contain authentic looking visual cues that trick victims into believing that they are reading official messages from their banks or organizations,” warned Angel Redoble, FVP and Chief Information Security Officer at PLDT, Smart and ePLDT.

PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) remind the public to carefully read through their emails or messages before responding or clicking attached links as local authorities expect online scams to rise during the holidays. PLDT and Smart’s Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) says that cyber criminals are not only getting better at mimicking legitimate emails, but they’re also using artificial intelligence (AI) to make their messages more convincing.

“AI-crafted emails contain more polished, personalized messages that imitate the writing style of humans. They also contain authentic looking visual cues that trick victims into believing that they are reading official messages from their banks or organizations,” warned Angel Redoble, FVP and Chief Information Security Officer at PLDT, Smart and ePLDT.

Citing an initial study of Germany-based cybersecurity awareness training service provider SoSafe, CSOG says victims are more likely to reveal their personal information through phishing messages authored by AI.

“The most important thing is to know who the email is from. Remembering the very basic rule of not talking to strangers can protect people from being victimized by scammers,” added Redoble.

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PLDT and Smart remain relentless in keeping customers secure from cyber-attacks. In the first eleven months of 2023, the PLDT Group prevented almost 17 billion attempts to open malicious domains after it blacklisted more than five million malicious URLs and links tied to phishing, spams, hoaxes and other illegal activities. It has also blocked more than 60 million SMShing messages from reaching customers in the same period. Smart also blacklisted more than 290,000 mobile numbers being used in nefarious activities from its network in the January to November time frame.

If you receive a dubious or malicious message, take a screenshot, and send it to cybersecurityincidents@smart.com.ph. You can likewise report other cybersecurity matters like phishing, vishing, and malicious domains though this channel.  

The efforts of PLDT and Smart to detect and block malicious messages, including SIMs and websites tied to fraudulent activities, are fundamental to the PLDT Group’s much broader program to elevate the quality of customer experience by protecting them from threats and cyber-attacks.

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