LogicaCMG raises smishing concerns

IT consulting firm LogicaCMG is calling for mobile operators to help tackle smishing, the SMS-based threat to mobile phone users.

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By  Published  December 16, 2006

IT consulting firm LogicaCMG is calling for mobile operators to help tackle smishing, the SMS-based threat to mobile phone users. The attack is described as the mobile text message equivalent of computer phishing attacks, where users are tricked into handing over valuable private information, or are persuaded to go to fake web sites where spyware and other malicious programs can be downloaded. Mobile phone users receive a message from an unknown sender that instructs them, for example, to go onto a web site where the unsuspecting user is vulnerable to other threats. Recent attacks have included false online dating subscriptions and job offers via SMS, with the message asking users to go to web sites to unsubscribe to the service. Nabil Khalil, director, telecoms at LogicaCMG said the onus was on mobile phone operators to curb the number of smishing attacks by identifying messages and increasing customer awareness of the threat. “Mobile spam and viruses present distinct threats from their internet-based equivalents and require a different approach to prevent and control them. “Mobile operators worldwide have a big role to play in protecting subscribers from smishing.” Mobile operators are not able to intercept the attack but can help reduce its effectiveness by sending a warning to the user, Khalil said. “Like most spam, these messages can be recognised by an operator with the right network tools, and can be labelled upon delivery in such a way that a warning arrives on the handset at the same time as the smishing message. “By recognising the message for what it is, and ignoring any instructions, any threat is immediately defused,” he continued. “Ensuring that users have this knowledge is an opportunity for mobile operators in the Middle East and North Africa.” The role of the mobile operator as a guardian of the customer experience will become increasingly important as the mobile phone continues to develop functions beyond its basic use, predicted LogicaCMG. LogicaCMG has devised a content control solution that is able to detect possible spam and then notify users so they are aware of the content within the message. This is done by inserting warning text at the start of the message, thus providing the necessary information for the user to recognise the corrupt message.

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