Globe works with government to stop PH entry of spoofing devices

To tackle spoofing right from its source, Globe has initiated efforts with law enforcement agencies to halt the importation of devices used for the emerging fraud racket.

Atty. Froilan Castelo, Globe’s General Counsel, also underscored the need to strengthen enforcement to stop incidents of spoofing, where fraudsters send malicious texts to SIMs in a particular area in the guise of legitimate sender IDs using devices called the international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) catcher.

These portable devices are imported to the Philippines either in full or in parts for assembly, then used for illegal activities. IMSI catchers can be carried around on foot or inside vehicles to target SIMs in a certain area and force them to downgrade to 2G, the old cellular network technology for voice calls and texts. Fraudsters are able to send malicious SMS to phones connected to their fake cell tower, appearing to be legitimate.

“We are working with the government to prevent the importation and use of IMSI catchers, which are the primary tools enabling these security breaches. We need more robust enforcement of the law concerning spoofing and the proliferation of this illegal equipment,” Castelo pointed out.

There is a need for urgent action, he said, amid the rising number of spoofing incidents where fraudsters impersonate legitimate and trusted sender IDs. This makes it difficult for mobile users to detect that they were already being duped.

“SMS spoofing is already criminalized under the Cybercrime Prevention Act. So we are actively coordinating with law enforcement agencies to ensure the arrest of these spoofers,” Castelo said.

Reports of spoofing have seen a rise among mobile phone users as Globe has tightened the noose on scam and spam SMS through stricter blocking, including filtering out all person-to-person SMS with links and enforcing stringent regulations on app-to-person SMS with URLs.

In response to spoofing incidents, Globe has also stopped using clickable links in its official customer advisories to help mobile users more easily distinguish between legitimate and spoofed SMS.

Globe calls on the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious messages to their service provider. The company also emphasizes the importance of following best practices for digital security, such as avoiding clicking on links from unknown sources, never sharing personal information via SMS, and staying informed about the latest scam tactics.

“We once again call on our customers to be very careful when you receive unsolicited messages. Do not fall for messages that entice you with offers that are too good to be true. Never click on SMS links or share your personal information on unverified platforms,” said Anton Bonifacio, Chief Information Security Officer at Globe.

In addition to its efforts in combating spoofing, Globe continues to educate its customers on how to protect themselves from various forms of digital fraud. Its comprehensive public awareness campaigns are designed to help individuals recognize and respond appropriately to potential threats.

For more information on how to protect yourself from being spoofed, please visit www.globe.com.ph.

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