Home Sms code After SMS scams rise, NTC orders telecom providers to block clickable links in texts

After SMS scams rise, NTC orders telecom providers to block clickable links in texts


The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered telecom providers nationwide to block clickable links to malicious websites in text messages, following the recent alarming rise in SMS scams.

“Telecom operators are hereby ordered to block or disable domains or URLs, TinyURLs, smart links and/or QR codes emanating from malicious sites based on an existing database extracted from government agencies such as the National Telecommunications Commission, National Privacy Commission, Department of Commerce and Industry, law enforcement, subscriber reports and those generated by machine learning or artificial intelligence,” the NTC memo reads.

The commission also asked suppliers to submit a written report of compliance by September 16.

The NTC’s order comes after lawmakers sounded the alarm as they too had started receiving more of these messages, many of them with their full names.

These texts range from fake bank notifications, which claim that a user’s account has been blocked and require them to click on a URL to recover it, to questionable quick-money schemes which involve clicking on certain advertisements or connections.

Globe and Smart, the Philippines’ leading telecommunications companies, said last week that they had spent billions of pesos to strengthen their infrastructure to fight cybercrime and block fraudulent messages.

LILY: Worried about SMS scams containing your full name? Globe, Smart say they’re working on it

While some netizens said they were grateful to hear that the malicious clickable links would be blocked, others were skeptical that this would deter scammers as they would likely simply change their schemes to circumvent the new regulations.

Others have also called on the government to pass the SIM card registration law, which President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed last year.

“Prepaid SIM cards also need to be registered, so we know who is using them,” one comment read.

“The sale of prepaid SIM cards should also be done through legitimate authorized resellers,” another suggested. “Many of them sell them everywhere – on the streets, in sari-sari shops, in homes.”

An invoice obliging to register the SIM cards was approved at House of Representatives committee level last week in response to the growing threat of SMS scams.