SMS phishing is a phishing technique that leverages text messages to trick individuals into exposing sensitive information, which is then used by cybercriminals to inflict extensive damage on businesses and individuals.
Such sensitive information could include:
Smishing scams infiltrate through "texting attacks" on your mobile phones by gaining access to your SMS messaging apps.
Smishing, in cybersecurity, involves social engineering tactics in text messages. Smishing text messages deceive recipients into revealing sensitive data by clicking on malicious links, or installing malware.
In smishing, human trust is exploited, making them easily vulnerable to fraud. Attackers send seemingly legitimate messages, often imitating reputable organizations, financial institutions, government agencies, or contacts, to create a false sense of urgency or importance.
These messages typically contain malicious links or entice the recipient to respond with sensitive information.
Smishing and phishing both trick people, but phishing uses more methods and often involves emails.
Smishing and vishing share similarities in using commonly used communication channels for deception with a difference - vishing relies on voice communication, typically over phone calls.
For better awareness and smishing protection, you need to know about the common ways smishers use text messaging apps to lure recipients of money or personal data.
Example 1: Fake Banking Alerts
Attackers send text messages spoofing a bank, claiming there is suspicious activity on the recipient's account. The message urges the individual to click a link and provide login credentials, unknowingly giving access to their account.
Message: Urgent: Unusual activity detected on your account. To secure your funds, click [malicious-link] and log in now. Failure to do so may result in account suspension.
In this example:
Real banks usually send important information through secure channels or official apps, not just text messages.
Example 2: Prize Winnings Scam
This is one of the oldest scams, but people still fall for it. Recipients receive messages proclaiming they've won a prize or lottery. To claim the winnings, they are redirected to follow a link and provide personal information, falling victim to identity theft.
Message: Congratulations! You've won $10,000 in our exclusive prize draw. Click [malicious-link] to claim your winnings now. Offer valid for the next 24 hours.
In this scenario:
Example 3: Confirmation or Renewal Scam
Scammers send messages to users claiming their subscription is ending. They ask for information to renew or confirm the service. However, once the victim enters the details, the criminal will steal and use them to their advantage.
Message: Action Required: Your account needs immediate confirmation. Click [malicious-link] to verify your details and avoid service interruption.
In this instance:
How to Detect Smishing Scams?
How to Prevent Smishing Attacks?
Yes, it is a subset of phishing that relies on text messages for deceptive activities.
It works by exploiting the trust individuals place in text messages. Attackers use deceptive messages to trick recipients into divulging sensitive information or performing actions that compromise their security.
If you receive a suspicious text message, do not respond or click on any links. Instead, check if the sender is real using official sources and inform your company's IT security team. Be continuously informed on the newest smishing protection techniques and best practices.