Globe’s temporary blocking of all person-to-person text messages containing clickable website links is a necessary and urgent step to protect customers against the escalating volume of spam and scam messages. This will also help ensure their continued trust in digital platforms amid growing digitalization, which is crucial in helping drive the country’s economic recovery.
This is just one of the latest in Globe’s long-going efforts against smishing and other forms of spam and scam messages, which have been inundating customers every day.
The approach attacks the problem on all fronts using an arsenal of countermeasures: advanced filtering mechanisms, proactive blocking, threat intelligence partnerships with financial institutions, a customer reporting portal, and an awareness and education campaign to help customers protect themselves.
This is why even before enforcing this new measure, Globe has already been able to block spam and scam messages in staggering volumes: 1 billion in all of 2021, and 784 million from January to July this year, on track to beat last year’s record.
“We have been using and continue to improve volumetric filters, machine learning, blacklists, signatures, and other steps to stop spam and scam messages on their tracks. We have also led the forging of partnerships with banks and other financial institutions for threat intelligence sharing to deter fraud. Yet while we continue to employ advanced capabilities, there are still dangerous SMS that gets through,” said Globe Chief Information Security Officer Anton Bonifacio.
He said blocking SMS with clickable links meant shutting the floodgates, and is critical to protect vulnerable users, including senior citizens, children, and new digital adopters who need support as they may yet be aware of cyber threats enough to drive personal vigilance.
“Our goal is to defang fraudsters. So we use all tools necessary– scalpels, axes, or cannons– to hold our fort and protect our 92 million customers,” Bonifacio said.
Last week, Globe implemented a new measure blocking all SMS from Prepaid and Postpaid numbers across all networks that contain clickable links. This will remain in force while the SIM Registration bill awaits the President’s signature and has yet to be implemented.
Globe has for years been taking progressive steps against scams and spam messages and other fraudulent activities victimizing mobile phone users. It has a 24/7 Security Operations Center manned by a captive 100-strong army that flags and blocks spam and scam messages.
It has also spent $20 million or about P1.1 billion in capital expenditures to date to step up its capabilities in detecting and blocking scam and spam messages from international and domestic sources, including app-to-person and person-to-person SMS.
Globe also educates customers on how to be more proactive against smishing and other forms of online fraud. Its Digital Thumbprint Program offers free e-modules on workshops where students, teachers, and parents can learn how to be responsible digital citizens.