Cybersecurity expert: Be paranoid when you receive texts from unknown numbers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 25) — A cybersecurity expert is urging telecommunications subscribers not to trust the messages they receive from unknown sources in light of the new text scam offering fake jobs.

"You need to be paranoid, whenever you receive text messages that are not coming from your friends or coming from your contact list then do not trust the message...Anything that you receive actually, you need to be paranoid," Angel Redoble, Smart-PLDT chief information security officer told CNN Philippines' The Source on Thursday.

Deputy Commissioner Ed Cabarios of the National Telecommunications Commission shared the same view.

"Kapag hindi mo kilala, magsuspetiya ka na. Di mo naman idi-disregard - pero mayroon ka nang suspicion. And that suspicion - huwag mong ibalewala iyan," he said.

[Translation: If you don't know them - suspect their motives already. You are not necessarily disregarding them but you already have a suspicion. And that suspicion -- don't dismiss that.]

He added that once the unknown source asks for money, subscribers should immediately stop engaging with them.

The reminders came after the discovery of a new text scam, in which subscribers are tricked into sending money to a fraudster. Privacy Commissioner Mon Liboro earlier said an "organized syndicate" was behind the scheme. 

Cyberattacks amid pandemic

Citing their threat intelligence operations, Redoble said cyberattacks against subscribers have become prevalent amid the pandemic.

"Iyong mga attackers -- they leveraged dun sa (from) COVID. They were also creating websites that are COVID-related and at the same time stealing information from users," he shared.

He said the highest number of phishing attacks so far this year was recorded in November.