No to blanket SMS blocking, says Smart | Inquirer Business
May impede users’ ‘ability to connect’

No to blanket SMS blocking, says Smart

The blanket blocking of text messages or short message service (SMS) containing clickable links as means to protect the subscribers against the text scams could “cripple” their “ability to connect” with each other, PLDT Inc.’s wireless unit Smart Communications said.

As such, the Pangilinan-led telecommunications firm said they were employing a multipronged strategy instead to combat the proliferation of spam messages.

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Smart issued the statement following its rival Globe Telecom Inc.’s announcement that it would temporarily block the delivery of all person-to-person SMS coming from all networks bearing URLs (uniform resource locators) or websites.

The move was made amid the surge of spam messages containing the name of the subscribers, tricking them into giving out personal information such as bank accounts and contact details. The hackers do so by offering fake job opportunities or lottery winnings to entice victims into clicking the links.

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Smart chose another direction.

“Upon closer study, however, we decided to forego this approach. Notably, neither the National Telecommunications Commission nor the National Privacy Commission has ordered the ban on clickable links in SMS,” PLDT and Smart chief information security officer Angel Redoble said.

Instead, Redoble said that the “SMS sent via our SMS broadcast service can no longer contain URL shorteners that have been shown to be used by SMS spammers.”

URL shorteners are tools that reduce the length of the clickable links.

“More importantly, we have not hesitated in suspending access to our network of aggregator-clients that have been involved in sending out [text scams],” he added.

Meanwhile, Globe’s e-wallet service provider GCash said it was migrating transaction confirmation messages to the app from the phone’s inbox to protect the customers.

“Migrating the transaction confirmation messages will help ensure users are getting only legitimate messages regarding their GCash transactions,” GCash chief risk officer Ingrid Rose Ann Beroña said. INQ

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