Phishing scams using text messaging are on the rise, mainly capitalizing on the vulnerabilities of many Filipinos who were left jobless during the pandemic. The situation has become alarming enough to prompt the National Privacy Commission (NPC) to launch a probe.
While Globe has been working closely with the NPC to address the problem, it also calls for the private sector to be more open to collaboration to prevent similar incidents from happening or escalating.
“I don’t think the private sector shares enough intelligence and data to be able to speed up our ability to respond to attacks,” said Anton Bonifacio, Globe Chief Information Security Officer.
He added: “I understand why some of the other companies are a little bit more careful because traditionally, it was better to keep things to yourself than to let anything out there. But what I’m hoping is that companies will be a little bit more comfortable over time.”
Despite the arm’s length relationship when it comes to private sector partnerships, Globe has already made headway with the banks who have also been very eager to collaborate over the past year or so. It now has a 24/7 group chat with each major commercial bank. Banks can report a phishing campaign that impersonates a URL, a domain, a number, as well as other incidents, and Globe will investigate and block them immediately.
Globe has also established a free whitelisting of official aggregators. These SMS blasting companies are the only ones allowed to use a brand or company name as an SMS sender, to help prevent SMS spoofing attacks.
From its success with the banks, Globe has moved on to Lazada and Shopee. Globe works with them directly to make sure that it can immediately act when customers of the online marketplaces are under attack.
Bonifacio remains confident that as more companies see the value of digitization and digital transformation, they will realize the importance of information sharing from a security sense and a business standpoint.
“At least on our end, we just decided to build those relationships directly with the key stakeholders. We already have that information shared with all major commercial banks, all major online retailers. But of course, from an advocacy perspective, it would be nice to see more across the larger spectrum,” he said.
Globe has already blocked about one billion spam messages and deactivated 5,670 confirmed spam numbers this year. However, Bonifacio said it is a cat and mouse game since the messages and sources change constantly. Even if a message is blocked, another one from a different source will come out.
Aside from going directly to the companies affected to get their inputs, Globe has systems that filter and proactively catch text scams. Yet, the company also needs the help of the customers to prevent these from spreading.
Globe is the only telco that has an official spam reporting website. It empowers customers to easily report mobile numbers responsible for these messages by going to https://www.globe.com.ph/stop-spam.html.
The company is relentlessly fighting scams and protecting its customers through proactive filtering, enhanced cybersecurity infrastructure, and awareness and education campaigns.
Globe strongly supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly UN SDG No. 9, highlighting the roles of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development. It is committed to upholding the UN Global Compact principles and contributing to 10 UN SDGs.