What is smishing?

Smishing is a form of phishing that uses mobile phones as a platform to attack. The attacker is attacking to collect personal information, including social security numbers and/or credit cards. Smishing is implemented via text messages or SMS, giving the attack the name “SMiShing”. Attackers use short message services or SMS, better known as text messages. This form of attack is becoming more popular because people are more likely to trust a message received via the messaging app on their phone than a message delivered via email.

While many victims fail to identify private text message phishing scams, the truth is that it is easier for attackers to find your phone number than your email. Phone number options are limited – in general, a phone number is 10 digits long. Contrast this with an email address, which is not limited in size, although a reasonable number of characters are expected. Emails can contain numbers, letters, such as! #, and %.

Putting ten random numbers together to contact a victim is much easier than contacting a single person by email address. Hackers can simply send messages to any combination of numbers that are the same length as the phone number. They don’t hurt, they don’t fail, and they can try any combination of numbers.

A recent report says that users read 98% of text messages and reply 45%. This makes it very logical for hackers to use text as an attack vector, especially since only 6% of emails are answered.

Examples of Smishing

Here are the recent examples of smishing. Pay special attention to how these great examples make you feel and how they motivate you to take action. Also, notice how counterfeiters claim to be legitimate businesses that people trust. They use this dirty trick to make sure the target becomes the victim. 

  • An SMS faking to be from American Express. One of the most famous examples of smishing is a fake message that you need to check your credit card.
  • Apparently, you were promised a win if you answered the survey. The text asks you to click on a URL to protect your information (oh irony. This particular message claims to be from Apple Support.
  • You may already know all about phishing when cyber attackers use fake emails to trick you into giving them access to your or your organization’s information. And you may have heard of vishing, where criminals use phone calls to steal information from you. 

How does the hacker use it?

But now hackers are using another form of electronic communication to gain access to information: SMS messaging, including but not limited to apps like iMessage, Slack, WhatsApp, or Skype. Smiley attacks are especially dangerous because text messages and other SMS messages seem more informal and personal than emails, so it’s easier to fall into a hacker’s trap without arousing suspicion.

In addition, emails contain many clues that may indicate a phishing attempt, including the sender’s address, email formatting, or incorrect grammar. These hints are not necessarily displayed in SMS formats.

Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with smishing or what a smishing attack might look like. Below we will give some tips on how to protect yourself and your organization from this new method of hacking.

Take a moment to calm down and think before replying to a message. If you receive an alert message from an official organization, please contact them directly to determine if the message is correct. However, most government agencies will never write to you. Beware of messages that combine email and SMS attacks.

How can users be aware and prevent it?

Here are some tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of scammers! At a high level, avoiding fraud is very easy. Not clicking on links in unknown or unexpected text messages is a simple first step. However, cybercriminals who use smishing scams are full of tricks aimed at getting one of two types of response: following a link or answering (by phone or SMS) to the number from which the message is sent.

While you may feel more confident avoiding any suspicious connections, you will have to fight the urge to call or text the scammers to stop them. Even if the text message says “SMS ‘stop’ to stop receiving messages”, never reply. If you’re sure the message came from a scam number, the response may result in more spam being sent to your phone. The same may be true for calling a number. Many funny messages impersonate a well-known company, such as a store or a bank.

If you think the message is a scam, don’t call or send the scam number, but look up the company’s customer service number on its official website. Contact the service at this number and ask about incoming messages. If they confirm it’s not from them, delete it.

All forms of smishing are usually an emotional manipulation game. Often scammers don’t want you to openly share your passwords, PINs, and social security numbers. Sometimes all they have to do is get you interested enough to click on a link and download a virus to your phone.

If you click on a smishing link, chances are your mobile device is already infected. Since the purpose of such viruses is usually to go undetected, you may not realize that your phone is infected.

Recent news about smishing

Smishing has established its own, mechanism and tools at the recent end of the year 2021. There have been 9000 reports, that have been reported under the belt of the smishing attack that is popularly known as “scam sharer”. From all of these, 65 percent of reports have been phone scams or message scams. From a wide range of populations, about 31 percent of people have been reported saying that they have been scammed through text messages.

The major focus point of the scammers lately has been to plunge into the personal details of the victim and trick them into sending out their hard-earned cash.

A recent record evaluated over 1.5 billion worldwide deals finished in the 2nd quarter of 2021. Evaluation of the information likewise exposed a constant transfer to cashless deals, with a 144% enhancement in peer-to-peer (P2P) resettlements and a 44% reduction in money deals.

Scammers and bad guys have made use of the move, with the outcome being that the variety of online card scams is enhanced by 23% in 2021.


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