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An Overview Of Smishing In Cybersecurity

By Tom Seest

What Is Smishing In Cybersecurity?

Smishing in cybersecurity refers to an attack that targets mobile devices. It’s an extension of phishing, where cybercriminals use smishing techniques to take information and money from unwitting victims.
SMS messages are often used by attackers to send tailored messages to their intended audiences with links that capture personal information, download malware or solicit money. By educating employees and executives about these attacks, companies can better detect them before anyone else does.

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What Is Smishing?

Smishing is a type of phishing attack that uses text messages to attempt to access personal information. This attack has become increasingly common, offering cybercriminals access to your bank details and other sensitive details.
Smishers use a range of tactics to access your data, such as fake websites and phone numbers. They may also use screen overlays to simulate login verification and help bypass two-factor authentication processes.
Smishing attacks typically employ social engineering techniques to make you feel obligated to give them your personal details or money. The attacker may pose as someone you recognize, such as a government official, or they could pose as an entity like a bank or utility company.
Unfortunately, malicious senders often send text messages that look like legitimate communications from businesses or organizations you do business with. For instance, if your bank or credit card provider sends you a message claiming that you’ve won something, be sure to call them to double-check its authenticity.
These attacks typically aim to intimidate you into providing personal information, making them highly profitable for cybercriminals. They can steal account details that they then sell at a profit.
Smishing attacks come in the form of emails, texts, and mobile applications that target consumers and businesses worldwide. These scams pose a growing danger to both individuals and businesses due to their potential reach – often reaching millions at once.
Phishing is more often known to the general public than smishing, yet many are unaware of its risks. That is why organizations must educate their employees about this type of attack. Security awareness training plays a major role in this process and often includes phishing simulations as part of these programs.
If you receive a smishing text, never respond. Doing so could allow malware to install on your device and leave you vulnerable to more intense attacks. Furthermore, responding may help the hacker compile a list of working numbers they can use in other scams or sell on the dark web for profit.

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How Do Smishers Get Information In Cybersecurity?

Smishing is a type of cyber attack that uses text messages to steal personal and financial information from victims. These crimes have become more prevalent, as they’re relatively straightforward to execute.
People frequently use their smartphones for text messaging, making them an attractive target for cybercriminals. According to Statista, 6.64 billion people worldwide utilize their phones to send and receive texts.
Thankfully, many major mobile phone carriers are joining forces to offer fraud text reporting services that allow you to report suspicious text messages directly to Apple or Google. Doing this helps build a shared database between companies which can be used to block and prosecute smashers.
Smishing attacks often employ social engineering techniques that play on human emotions. They aim to cause fear and panic in their victims, prompting them to click a link or open an attachment immediately, sometimes even asking for bank or credit card information.
Recent examples of such scam attempts included an SMS from Apple warning recipients about purchasing a defective iPhone 12. The message also included a URL asking for their phone number in order to dispute the purchase.
Another popular smishing attack involves fake order confirmations claiming to be from FedEx or USPS, representing delivery of a package. The in-text URL link then leads to an exploitative site that steals credit card information.
These sophisticated scams often target high-use tech and e-commerce companies like Apple, Google, or Amazon. The criminals may pose as customer support representatives from these firms and request that you verify your account credentials or download malware onto your phone.
Some smishing attacks are more intricate than others, but they all share one trait: social engineering to coerce their victims into providing confidential information. Furthermore, some may even have the ability to access your computer and install malicious software.
If you receive a suspicious text message, delete it and block the number from your phone. To do this, send a text containing either “STOP” or “NO” to the number in question; this will stop them from receiving further messages from you.

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What Are the Most Common Types Of Smishing Attacks In Cybersecurity?

Smishing attacks are cybercrimes that involve sending text messages to victims. These messages often contain malicious software or viruses and should always be treated as such.
One of the most prevalent smishing attacks is confirmation smishing, which uses fake confirmation requests to attempt to obtain sensitive information, such as for an online order, appointment, or bill invoice. These scams usually send you to a site that looks similar to your bank’s website or an e-commerce store in an effort to steal your account credentials.
Another prevalent smishing attack is impersonation smishing, which relies on social engineering techniques. This technique exploits users’ increasing comfort level with receiving and responding to strangers via instant messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
In a social engineering attack, the attacker typically poses as someone you know. They may claim their phone was stolen or that they have an urgent financial situation that necessitates assistance.
Smishing attacks can be tricky, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Avoid text messages that seem too urgent or offer limited-time discounts for new accounts or phone upgrades. These types of scams should be avoided at all costs.
The second is to remain skeptical and contact the company directly if you’re feeling uncertain. Additionally, always double-check for spelling or grammar mistakes in text messages before responding.
Finally, it is essential to report all smishing attacks to the appropriate authorities. This is especially pertinent in cases of emergency, such as an unpaid balance or stolen credit card.
Smishing may not be as common a threat as email-based phishing attacks, but it still presents an elevated risk that should still be taken seriously. According to Proofpoint Security Awareness, smishing attacks are on the rise and have resulted in millions of dollars worth of losses.
Smishing attackers typically employ spoofing or hiding their true phone numbers behind a fake decoy in order to make it harder for users to recognize them. However, the FCC has made it illegal in America to send or receive spoofed messages.

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What Can You Do to Protect Yourself From Smishing In Cybersecurity?

Smishing is a type of cybersecurity attack that uses SMS (short message service) text messages to trick victims into sharing sensitive information or installing malicious software on their phones. It’s an increasingly dangerous threat, particularly among those unaware of its danger or who trust text messages more than emails.
One of the most frequent forms of smishing is bank phishing. This involves cybercriminals posing as banks, credit card companies, or other businesses in order to obtain personal information like account numbers or passwords. Once scammers possess this data, they can steal your money.
Another form of smishing is customer support phishing. In this scenario, hackers pose as representatives from reputable companies like financial institutions or retailers and inform you there’s an issue with your account. They then provide a link to a fake site with spyware that records any data entered or installs malware on your device.
If you receive an alert from your bank that asks you to click a link, make sure it’s legitimate before responding directly. If the message has an unusual number or appears suspiciously fake, this could indicate a smishing attempt.
To protect yourself against smishing attempts, the most reliable way to safeguard your accounts is to enable multi-factor authentication on each one. This requires you to authenticate your identity each time you log in; you can do this by downloading a mobile security app or taking advantage of your smartphone’s built-in security features.
Also, never share your usernames and passwords in text messages. This is a major flaw in mobile security; hackers could potentially use this data to gain access to your account or take money from you.
Finally, ensure your phone’s operating system is always up to date and download a cybersecurity tool that will protect it from viruses, spyware, spam calls/ads, malicious links/websites, and phishing attempts. Additionally, this can protect you against smishing attacks by blocking known spam numbers.

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