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PLDT, Smart block more than 13 million SMShing messages to combat ‘hijack profile’ incidents

“Data is the new oil. Cyber criminals steal personal information to defraud you or use your identity to victimize people close to you. Guard your data. Don’t share it with people you don’t know,” reminded Joseph Ian Gendrano, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer at PLDT and Smart.

Elijah Mendoza, Digital Communications Senior Manager at Smart, shares tips on how to avoid falling for phishing messages.

PLDT’s wireless unit, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), has blocked more than 13 million SMShing messages in the first quarter of the year. It has also blacklisted almost 200,000 mobile numbers involved in phishing activities as the Philippine National Police (PNP) raised the alarm on ‘hijack profile’ cases.

“Data is the new oil. Cyber criminals steal personal information to defraud you or use your identity to victimize people close to you. Guard your data. Don’t share it with people you don’t know,” reminded Joseph Ian Gendrano, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer at PLDT and Smart.

‘Hijack profile’ happens when a hacker gains unauthorized access to someone’s social media account. In some cases, the victims are locked out of their own account. The offender then messages the victims’ contacts to ask for money, usually under the guise of a sickness or an unfortunate life event.

To further keep customers safe from fraudulent activities, Smart is reminding the public to be wary of clicking dubious links on SMS or emails from unknown persons

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During the #CyberSmart event at Jose Rizal University in Mandaluyong, Elijah Mendoza, Digital Communications Senior Manager at Smart, emphasized mindfulness when traversing cyber space and reading text messages.

“Phishing is the most common technique employed by bad actors to trick you into revealing your data. Don’t go on autopilot mode and click or tap links,” said Mendoza.

To avoid getting baited by phishing messages, remember the following:

1.      Don’t open suspicious emails or links. Remember what our parents used to say about not talking to strangers? It’s the same with unfamiliar senders or callers.

2.       Don’t log in to unfamiliar websites. Look at the address bar. Make sure you are opening the legitimate website.

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3.       Brush up on grammar and branding knowledge. Phishing messages are often composed of ill-formed sentences with bad grammar. Malicious websites often use low-resolution photos to mimic the page they’re copying.

The efforts of PLDT and Smart to share CyberSmart tips are rooted in their customer-centric culture where they aim to elevate the quality of customer experience by protecting them from threats and cyber-attacks.

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