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What Is Smishing?

Bryan Badger avatar
Written by Bryan Badger posted on Aug 10, 2022

What Is Smishing? A Guide to Smishing Attacks

Smishing attacks are rising as more people use text messages for communication. Since text messages can be easily spoofed, it's easy for attackers to impersonate a trusted sender and trick victims into clicking on malicious links or attachments. Smishing attacks can be difficult to spot, as they often masquerade as messages from trusted companies or organizations. The best way to protect yourself from smishing attacks is to be aware of the signs of a phishing attack and to never click on links or attachments from unfamiliar numbers or email addresses.

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What Is Smishing?

Smishing is a phishing attack that uses text messages to trick victims into giving up sensitive information. Smishing is especially dangerous for those who do not understand these attacks, as the text messages can look very convincing. Many smishing messages include the name of a trusted organization, such as a bank, and often include a sense of urgency to get the victim to act quickly. Personal information is sometimes included in smishing messages, making them even more convincing.

How Do Smishing Attacks Work?

Smishing attacks are carried out by sending a text message (SMS) to a victim's phone number. The text message will typically contain a link that directs the victim to a fake website designed to mimic a legitimate one. The attacker will then try to trick the victim into entering sensitive information, such as their login credentials or financial information. Smishing attacks can also install malware on a victim's device. The text message will often contain a link that directs the victim to a website that contains malicious code. Once the victim visits the site, the malware will be downloaded and installed on their device without their knowledge.

Cybercriminals obtain phone numbers to target in smishing attacks in various ways. They may purchase lists of phone numbers from shady online marketplaces, or they may use malware to infect devices and steal contacts. Sometimes, they simply guess phone numbers (especially if they target a specific organization). What makes smishing attacks so effective is that they exploit a fundamental human weakness: our tendency to trust.

We are hardwired to trust the people and things around us, which makes us susceptible to scammers and fraudsters. When we receive a text message from an unknown number, our first instinct is not to be suspicious. We may think that the message is from a friend or family member or a company we do business with. This can lead us to click on links and enter sensitive information without thinking twice.

5 Smishing Attacks to Watch Out for in 2022

How much time do you spend with your face glued to your phone screen? If you're like most people, the answer is "a lot." We use our smartphones for everything from keeping in touch with friends and family to online banking and shopping. Since we rely heavily on our phones, they have become a prime target for cybercriminals. Therefore, it is important to know what smishing attacks look like so that you can protect yourself and your information.

Here are 5 smishing attacks to watch out for in 2022:

1. Fake Delivery Notifications

One of the most common smishing attacks is the fake delivery notification. In this type of attack, the victim will receive a text message that appears to be from a delivery company like UPS or FedEx. The message will say that the victim has a package waiting for them and will provide a link to a website where they can track the package. However, the link will direct the victim to a fake website that is designed to steal their login credentials or other sensitive information.

2. Fake Customer Service Messages

Another common type of smishing attack is the fake customer service message. In this type of attack, the victim will receive a text message that appears to be from a company they do business with. The message will say that there is a problem with the victim's account and that they need to click on a link to resolve the issue. Again, the link will direct the victim to a fake website, asking them to enter their login credentials or other sensitive information.

3. False Alerts from Government Agencies

Scammers posing as government agencies, such as the IRS, have sent out false alerts via text message to collect sensitive information from victims. The messages often say that the victim is due a refund or that they owe money to the government. In either case, the message will link to a website where the victim is asked to enter their personal and financial information.

4. Phony Text Messages from Banks

Banks are another prime target for smishing attacks. Cybercriminals will send out fake text messages that appear to be from the victim's bank. The message may say that there is a problem with the victim's account or that their debit card has been canceled. As with other types of smishing attacks, the goal is to get the victim to click on a link that will take them to a fake website, where they will be asked to enter sensitive information.

5. Fake Charity Donations

With so many natural disasters and other tragedies taking place around the world, it's no wonder that charity smishing attacks are on the rise. In this attack, victims will receive a text message that appears to be from a legitimate charity. The message will ask for donations to help those affected by the disaster. However, the link provided in the message will take the victim to a fake website where their personal and financial information will be collected by cybercriminals.

These are just a few of the most common smishing attacks to watch out for in 2022. Remember, if you receive a text message that looks suspicious, do not click on any links or provide any personal or financial information.

How To Protect Yourself from Smishing Attacks

Now that you know what smishing attacks look like, it's time to learn how to protect yourself from them. Here are a few tips:

  • Be skeptical of text messages from numbers you do not recognize
  • Be suspicious of text messages that ask for personal or financial information
  • Never click on links or attachments in suspicious text messages
  • Forward suspicious text messages to your cellular provider
  • Remember that financial institutions will not send you text messages asking for personal or financial information

Since we carry our phones everywhere we go, we are always within reach of a smishing attack. Reduce smishing susceptibility by being aware of these attacks and knowing how to spot one. Integral Networks can help secure your systems and data, making you less susceptible to these attacks. We offer comprehensive security solutions that are designed to keep your business safe. Contact us today to learn more.

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