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PLDT, Smart report drop in scammers’ new domains

The Philippine Star
PLDT, Smart report drop in scammersâ new domains
From a minimum average of 25 unique domains daily at the onset of this wave of SMS-based scam, PLDT and Smart said the numbers have declined to only 14 new domains from Dec. 3 to 5.
BusinessWorld / File

MANILA, Philippines — Telco giant PLDT Inc. and wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. said the number of domains used by digital scammers have been decreasing for the past three days on the back of ramped up awareness efforts and continued  blocking of websites that lead to fraudulent job hiring schemes.

From a minimum average of 25 unique domains daily at the onset of this wave of SMS-based scam, PLDT and Smart said the numbers have declined to only 14 new domains from Dec. 3 to   5.

PLDT and Smart said even the number of blocked attempts made by users to the websites dropped from 21,112 last Dec. 3 to only 8,902 on Dec. 5.

To date, the PLDT and Smart’s threat intelligence, cybersecurity and cybercrime investigation units have already identified 192 suspicious domains and over 100,000 blocked attempts in total.

PLDT said the decreasing figures in the past three days show that Filipinos are now more vigilant and wary of such offers masked as employment opportunities.

“The scam operators used to engage the victims on a one-to-one basis, in which interested users are transacting with allegedly foreign individuals. Today, they have possibly been employing Filipinos to establish better communication with unsuspecting subscribers and luring them in the process,” said Angel Redoble, chief information security officer of PLDT and Smart’s cyber security operations group.

PLDT and Smart have intensified their awareness campaign against SMS phishing by sharing safety tips on social media and disseminating advisories to their subscribers by means of text messaging.

Mobile users are urged to be vigilant at all times to avoid falling prey to such fraudulent schemes.

“One source of information theft is companies with hacked security systems. Another could be the data handling of online platforms that store consumer information. Also notorious for large databases of stolen information is the Dark Web, where there is a corresponding price for every personal data traded,” Redoble said.

“The WhatsApp online messaging platform was also compromised this year, an incident where around two billion users were affected by the data breach. However, these are all just possibilities, as data can come from multiple sources virtually,” he said.

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