Globe blocks messages with clickable links

3:10 pm on 30 September 2022, Friday

GLOBE Telecom said on Friday that they had started blocking messages that contain clickable links linked to scams.

In a statement, Globe said they ramped-up security against SMS-linked scam is an "unprecedented" measure to block the delivery of person-to-person text messages with clickable links from all networks.

"Before implementing this measure, what we were doing was blocking access to malicious links in text messages to help protect customers. This time around, we're blocking the actual message," Globe Chief Information Security Officer Anton Bonifacio said.

Bonifacio said their priority is their subscribers.

"If the SMS has a link of any kind, we are not going to deliver it, period. This is necessary to protect our customers," he added.

Bonfacio noted that the SMS blocking would be in effect while the passage of the SIM Registration bill is pending.

The National Telecommunications Commission and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas have earlier ordered the blocking of URLs that led to malicious sites and the inclusion of links in text messages.

The Senate and House of Representatives ratified the SIM Registration bill after ironing out several, including the word "card," to accommodate any future iteration of the SIM.

The said bill will be transmitted to the Office of the President for approval. 

Telco officials, lawmakers, and law enforcement agencies have said SIM registration is vital in ending SMS scams since it would help them trace the source of the person-to-person messages.

After SIMs are registered, it would allow the authorities to address concerns swiftly, the National Privacy Commission earlier said.

All the country's three major telcos have expressed support for the measure.

Meanwhile, PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. said they assisted in boosting the cybersecurity capability of the Philippine Air Force through the PAF-PLDT Cybersecurity Forum.

"We are honored to contribute to the protection of the country's cyber space. We are sharing with the Air Force strategies in beefing up the organization's digital infrastructure, as well as real-world experiences on responding to and containing cyber-attacks. As we move to a more digital world, cybersecurity has also become part of the national agenda," Angel T. Redoble, FVP and Chief Information Security Officer of PLDT and Smart said.

"PLDT and Smart's contribution to the Air Force in particular, and to the whole AFP in general, cannot be quantified. Truly, a game-changer in our digital agenda. PLDT and Smart have been dependable partners, fulfilling their vital role in protecting our nation's cybersecurity domain," Col. Fernando Ventura, GSC, Asst. Chief of Air Staff for Command and Control, Communications, and Cyber Systems, A-6 said.

At the forum, the PLDT Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) shared its organizational structure and discussed how different pillars focus on specific functions but remain closely linked to allow for easier collaboration and faster response in major cybersecurity incidents. 

The group also laid out its cybersecurity framework, which serves as CSOG's bible in fending off attacks. Catherine Cueto


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