What is Smishing in Cyber Security?

What is smishing

You may have already heard the popular term Phishing, Smishing is a form of a phishing attack, but it targets your mobile phone instead of email. Malicious content is hidden the same way within SMS text messages, once opened it can cause a data breach to your phone.

In terms of cyber security, this is particularly alarming for businesses as hybrid working has become the new normal. Many of your employees will have access to business emails and even the business database via their phones. This creates an incredibly easy route for hackers to have access to your business.

As a business, it’s everyone’s responsibility to be aware and help prevent Smishing attacks. By reading this blog we will outline some of the things to look out for to ensure everyone is as protected as they can be. You will learn how a Smishing attack works, how to protect yourself and prevent a data breach within your business.

What happens during a Smishing attack?

Over the last century, Mobile device usage has grown rapidly. These devices are used 24/7 which is incredibly valuable to cyber criminals. Your mobile device also has access to so many multiple communications channels such as email, social media, etc.

Just like an email, an MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service messages) text message can be used to carry malicious links or attachments, enabling them to use the same techniques as phishing emails.

Text messages have some advantages over email, which are the following:

  • More likely to be responded to
  • Business brands are pushing more messages via SMS
  • Users are not allowed to hover over a link to view its destination on mobile phones

With this in mind, have you ever received a Smishing message? Let’s take a look at the most common examples…

Common examples of Smishing attacks:

Financial services

A hacker may pose as your financial services organisation asking you to verify some activity on your account. The hacker’s aim is to steal your login credentials or other personal information as part of the verification process, so they have access to your account.

Confirmation of order

You may receive a message from a hacker posing as a brand confirming an order you made and a link to modify or cancel the order. The link contains malicious software or will direct you to a fake site that will ask you to put your login details, the hacker will then steal the data you input.

Smishing messages can feel like a personal attack, with emails most people are aware of spam emails as they are quite common, whereas Smishing is a lot more targeted. It’s very scary because we all rely on our phones for a lot of business and in our personal lives. Don’t worry, we have listed some ways you can protect yourself and your business from these intrusive hackers.

How to protect your business from smishing attacks?

If you are familiar with the ways to prevent a phishing attack then this will be easy for you and your team, prevention of Smishing attacks is very similar:

  • Always install Apps from Appstore’s

Install apps from reputable app stores (Apple’s app store, Google Play). It’s important to also verify the authenticity on the app creator’s website. Smishing attacks are designed to trick you into installing malicious apps.

  • Don’t Provide Data

Smishing attacks are commonly designed to steal sensitive data from their targets under the guise of verifying identities or other pretexts. Never provide personal data to someone that you haven’t called or texted via a number listed on their website.

  • Avoid clicking links

Links in text messages are difficult to verify due to link shortening and the inability to hover over links to see targets. Instead of clicking on links in text messages, browse directly to the target site.

If you are in doubt and anything looks suspicious don’t click on the link or give your details. Get in contact with your IT provider who will be able to give you some guidance.

Once you have confirmed that a message is a Smishing attack, it’s important you report the scam to prevent the scammers from sending any more messages. The majority of phone providers enable you to forward a message. If you forward a text to 7726, your provider can investigate who sent the message and arrange to block or ban them, if it’s found to be malicious. If you are unsure of how to do this, click here.

We hope that this blog has given you more of an understanding of Smishing attacks and how they can affect your business. If this is a concern for you, get in touch with our cyber security experts today and see how we can help you – call 01273 806211 or email [email protected].