Cloudmark: SMS Phishing Attacks Up 913%

Even if you only have a passing interest in security you will probably be aware that the most talked about personal threats these days are based around malware on computers and, to some degree, the same again with smart phones. But there are other issues too that you certainly shouldn’t overlook.


One of those other attack vectors is the SMS phishing attack. Whilst such attacks have been around for years they are certainly not in decline. At least not according to Cloudmark:

“During the first week of September, Cloudmark observed a 913% increase in the volume of SMS phishing attempts, making SMS phishing currently the single largest SMS text messaging threat. The surge appears to be the result of a single set of attacks which initially started on September 4th.”
Mary Landesman, Cloudmark senior security researcher

In the space of just 3-4 days some 500+ different phishing texts were sent out with potential victims being asked to call a large range of different phone numbers. Unsurprisingly, the phishers were after the usual sort of information required to commit bank, credit card or identity fraud.

This of course is a good example of a scenario in which no security product is going to help you. Instead, you must remain vigilant at all times and never divulge sensitive information unless you have 100% trust in the person with whom you are sharing it. Its also worth remembering that reputable banks, credit card companies, etc. will not ask for personal information via text messages or emails.

Lastly, Mary says,

“If you’ve been the recipient of this SMS phishing attempt, forward the text to short code 7726 to notify your carrier and to facilitate resolution.”

I must confess I don’t know what that will do though – perhaps a US reader could shed some light on it?

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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