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What is Smishing? And How to Protect Yourself from Smishing

What is Smishing?

Smishing, often known as SMS phishing, is a phishing cybersecurity attack carried out using mobile text messaging. Smishing is a type of phishing in which the attack platform is a mobile phone. The perpetrator plans the attack with the goal of obtaining personal information such as social security and/or credit card numbers.

Smishing is one of the many risks to your internet security. In this, criminals try to steal your data or money by sending you a text message. By doing so, they try to fool you into clicking on a link you shouldn’t. Or, disclosing personal information or login credentials that should be kept private.

How Smishing Works

Smishing is the SMS equivalent of phishing scams. You receive a text message that appears like a scam instead of a fraudulent email on your smartphone. The technical word for text messages that you receive on your phone is “SMS,” which stands for “short message service.”

Smishing efforts are typically delivered via SMS text message, but they can also appear on any messaging network, including WhatsApp and Instagram. They will usually include a link that the scammers expect you to click.

Oftentimes, these links might even ask for a direct response, but you will have to perform the action they want to be affected by the attack. Simply getting the message won’t do any harm.

The most common type of assault you’ll encounter is a link to a dubious website. It might be a spoof of a well-known corporation website or social networking network. You’ll be asked to enter your username and password. However, it will not check you into the legitimate site. Instead, the person who put up the false site will capture your information and use it for illegal purposes.

For example, you may end up on a counterfeit Amazon site (a phishing site). It might advertise with a fraudulent “free prize” if you press the link on your phone (which you shouldn’t). For “shipping fees,” the site will ask for your credit card information and charge you exorbitant rates.

Additional frauds may include a link to download a fraudulent app, which may contain a virus. Fortunately, your phone will immediately stop most malware apps. It is tough to install unapproved software on most smartphones today. However, it is still something to keep an eye out for when messages arrive.

How to Avoid Smishing Attacks

While we can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to recognize every single smishing attack, there are several warning signals to keep an eye out for.

Observe the Source

Examine the SMS message’s origin. If Amazon SMS you a delivery notice from a certain number every time a new message arrives in that chat, it’s likely true. However, if you receive a text from an unfamiliar number, which claims it is from Amazon, it might be a scam.

Warning Sign

It is highly likely that numbers that don’t appear to be properly formed or contain peculiar characters could be smishing attempts. There is a low possibility for them to be legitimate messages from businesses or automated services. Thus, proceed with caution.

Urgency

Another trait that many smishing communications share is a sense of urgency. Many of them will urge you to respond quickly and set a time limit on your response. Therefore, you don’t have time to think about what you’re doing. They might also try to get you to click on a link by mentioning something upsetting or contentious that has to be addressed right away.

Employ Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

MFA requires a second “key” for verification. Hence, a revealed password may still be useless to a smishing attacker. Two-factor authentication (2FA), which frequently employs a text message verification code, is the most used MFA option. Stronger options include employing a dedicated verification app (such as Google Authenticator).

Never Provide Information Digitally

In the wrong hands, both passwords and text message two-factor authentication (2FA) recovery codes might jeopardize your account. This information should never be shared with anybody and should only be used on official websites.

Do not Click on Any Links Over SMS

Use caution when sending links or contact information in communications that make you feel uneasy. When possible, go straight to official communication channels. Furthermore, avoid downloading and installing any software provided to you by text message or email.

Rida Rehan

Hello, I'm Rida Rehan, an undergraduate student, and an inspiring journalist who likes to explore various topics and fields to broaden my horizon, and to keep myself updated on information and trends.

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