Thursday, February 2, 2023

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PLDT, Smart thwart 17 billion access to malicious sites, block 400 million fraudulent text messages

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In support of the recently implemented SIM Registration Act, PLDT and Smart have intensified anti-cybercrime efforts to clamp down on illegal activities perpetrated over SMS and online platforms.

“The SIM Card Registration Law will help curb fraud and cybercrime as it will make it harder for criminals to buy SIMs anonymously. To expand on the government’s effort, PLDT and Smart cyberwarriors are working 24/7 in blocking scams and fraudulent messages, as well as mobile accounts being used in criminal activities,” said Angel Redoble, FVP and Chief Information Security Officer at PLDT and Smart. 

By the end of 2022, the PLDT Group has blocked more than 17 billion attempts to open malicious domains after its Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) blacklisted 5.5 million domains being used in phishing, spam, and hoax activities. Smart also prevented 433 million SMShing messages from reaching customers in the same time frame. These messages often come with links to phishing sites that harvest customers’ personal data. Smart has also blocked more than 400,000 mobile numbers involved in the illegal activities.

CSOG’s close watch also fended off 182 million cyber-attacks and data breach incidents. PLDT and Smart’s threat intelligence sources has enabled CSOG to amass 123 million indicators of compromise in its database that it also uses for cyber-attack correlation.

Smart has ramped up efforts to register all its subscribers. The company has set up registration booths and touchpoints across the country to reach more customers. By the second week of January, nearly 8 million subscribers of its prepaid, postpaid and corporate services have registered their SIMs.

Recognizing children as key stakeholders, PLDT and Smart remain hard at work to end online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC). In 2022, the PLDT Group has foiled more than 1.3 billion attempts to access URLs that show child sexual abuse materials (CSAM). In December alone, the CSOG has added more than half a million URLs hosting CSAMs to its blacklist.

The PLDT Group’s child protection platform is a vital cog in its fight against OSAEC. The technology allows the Group to block online child abuse materials at the more difficult content level. Its membership to the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation and Project Arachnid of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection has enabled it to quickly identify and cut access to URLs hosting CSAMs.

PLDT and Smart’s initiatives to bolster their cybersecurity infrastructure is grounded in their customer-centric ideology that aims to deliver meaningful connections and experiences for their customers to live a fuller life.

This customer obsession drives the two companies to beef up their digital infrastructure as part of a broader effort to elevate the Filipinos’ experience by keeping customers and the country safe from threats and attacks. These initiatives highlight the Group’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG No. 9 on Industries, Innovation and Infrastructure.

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