In 2006 the term Smishing was coined to define a type of phishing attack carried out via SMS text messaging. This type of attack has remained relatively obscure until recent years: over 300% of SMS-based scams have been reported after 2020. Consequently, we are all potentially victims as owners of at least one mobile device. Compared to phishing sent via email, smishing is much more direct because we use messaging or SMS applications much more often than email and also the messages are displayed directly on the device.
Description and consequences of Smishing scams
Have you ever received SMS’s from numbers not in your phonebook that pretend to be well-known brands or banks and invite you to click on a link, download an application or dial an unknown number? If the answer is yes, you have probably been the victim of one of the most common examples of smishing!
Smishing is the union of the words phishing and SMS and can be delivered via text messages and instant messaging applications. The intent of the attackers is to obtain sensitive and confidential information from the victims.
We have two main types of smishing
The goal of these malicious scammers is to have access to your sensitive data, to infect your device with malware or to extort money from you.
98% of text messages are read and 45% are answered: this is one of the reasons why Smishing is a very common practice. Also, people know some of the risks that can be hidden in emails, but they underestimate those related to SMS messages.
Finally, we often use our mobile phones while we are distracted or in a hurry so we are not always ready to perceive a potential risk, which can also come from tools we use daily such as SMS or chat.
As for Phishing, Smishing also uses psychological lure such as fear and urgency that generate reduced clarity of thought.
How can you recognize this type of SMS scam?
It is almost impossible to avoid receiving Smishing messages, but what to do to avoid falling victim?
You are now better prepared to recognize this type of attack! Think carefully before answering an SMS!