Complete Guide on Smishing

What is Smishing?

A Smishing attack or SMS Phishing is a type of social engineering attack that takes advantage of SMS to send fraudulent links to users that redirect them to phished login pages and websites.

On these pages, the users are asked for their personal credentials such as password, login information, bank account details, and PIN. With the help of this information, the cyber attacker can easily draw out money or sensitive information.

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How does a Smishing attack take
place?

Supposedly, today a user received a text message on their phone which goes something like this:

On clicking on the link a phished landing page opens up the mobile screen that usually starts an auto-installation of a Trojan horse or Malware that allows hackers to gain direct access to the user’s device, or asks the user to submit banking credentials.

Types of fraudulent SMS a user may get

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“Bank account is frozen”

This type of SMS received by the user generally expresses urgency regarding the bank account of the user being frozen and the detection of unusual activity on the account.

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“Credit card alert”

Another very popular SMS received by users of a malicious nature is cyber attackers impersonating credit card companies, to send alert messages regarding ongoing activities via the user’s credit card.

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“You are our lucky winner”

Fraudulent SMS regarding prizes or coupons won on a site can be an effective way to lure in victims. Telling victims that he or she is the lucky winner of a subsequent amount of cash prize can lure them to click on fraudulent links.

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.“Free gifts on taking a survey”

Cyber attackers may perpetrate a Smishing attack via a survey conducted on a fake website where the user’s personal credentials are asked. The message often includes a free gift coupon offered on taking the survey to lure in potential victims.

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“Unusual account activity”

The user may receive an SMS on his mobile device informing him about an unusual account activity in his email account. The user may be asked to disclose his banking credentials in order to resolve the problem.

How to prevent a hacker from Smishing you?

  • It is safe to ignore or block the number if the SMS sent via unknown sources.
  • Make sure the phone number is an authentic one. Suspicious looking phone numbers (e.g. 4000) can be from malicious sources.
  • Don’t be quick to click on links sent via SMS before confirming its authenticity.
  • Do not install apps whose download link is shared via SMS. Rather download them only from official app stores.
  • Don’t be easily lured by offers, coupons, or prizes mentioned in the SMS from suspicious sources.
  • Check for grammatical errors in the SMS.
  • Check for minor changes made to original or popular brand names in order to trick users.

Smishing in the News

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April 2020
Attention! Fraud transaction in your bank account?

TBS bank in the UK suffers a major data breach when customers receive a fraudulent SMS on their cell phones, impersonating the bank, asking for the user’s baking credentials urgently. Most customers fell prey to the attack and disclosed their account number and PIN.

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Aug 2020
Live Updates: COVID-19 Cybersecurity Alerts

Cell phone users in the US suffered a major data breach when instigated to download a Trojan Horse via SMS that started an auto-installation of a fake pornographic application. Activities by users on this application were used by cyberattackers to access sensitive information present on their devices.

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Why avail a social engineering attack awareness
training program?

Employees in an organization are usually ill-informed about cyber attacks and security-related problems. They are unaware of the latest trends and techniques used by cybercriminals, and hence they easily fall prey to impending threats. Without spreading awareness among employees adequately, it is impossible for an organization to protect their assets and finances from hackers. Consulting with security analysts and experts so as to avail a well-rounded cyber attack awareness training program can help educate employees regarding social engineering attacks and their preventive measures. The program includes 3 comprehensive steps for complete cybersecurity awareness and training:

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Simulation 1.0

To perpetrate the first round of dummy phishing attack on employees

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Knowledge imparting session

Imparting details knowledge on phishing attack and prevention via video advisories, presentations, and lectures.

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Evaluation and Assessment

Regular cumulative assessments are conducted to ensure that the employees are making improvements while handling phishing attacks.