January 17, 2022

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Discussion: Smishing: What is it and how can you avoid it?

Discussion: Smishing: What is it and how can you avoid it?

This discussion expresses the views of the author. Debate entries can be sent to [email protected]

The vast majority have heard of phishing email, about how malicious actors send you malicious links or attachments in hopes of gaining access to them. Access can be used, among other things, to claim money, steal data, or leak sensitive information. For businesses and individuals, it can do significant damage. But did you know that phishing with consequences can also be sent to you as an individual by SMS?

Recently in November, Telenor came out and warned its customers about SMS fraud. Typically, Telenor blocks 30,000 to 40,000 scam messages per day, but during “Black Week” in connection with “Black Friday” in November, up to 165,000 messages were blocked. The scam was to send customers an SMS with a link to a voice message, and to hear the message you have to click on the link and download an app. And when the app was downloaded, I got a virus on the phone and malicious actors got access to including username, password, payment info and contact list.

Wrapped smishing as a Christmas gift

Now during the Christmas season, many people have bought Christmas gifts online. Then you will often also receive SMS from Posten, Bring or PostNord to track or receive the package. Malicious players know this and therefore send messages claiming to be Posten, Bring, PostNord, or other famous players specifically. Malicious actors hope that Norwegians will ignore the Christmas chaos and click on a malicious link. In this way, they can easily cheat happy Norwegians at Christmas.



5 tips to avoid being scammed by SMS

  1. Are you expecting an SMS?
    If you received a message from, for example, Norway Post without ordering a packet, it is very likely that malicious attackers will try to deceive you. Messages often look real and can be easily fooled, regardless of whether you’re expecting a package or not.
  2. Contact the company directly
    If you receive an SMS from Telenor, Posten, or other known senders, you can contact customer service directly and ask them to check it. Most companies also have their own apps where you can easily check if a package is already on the way to you from Norwegian Post, or if you have a pending invoice from your mobile operator. It is also possible to look up this information on the sender’s websites if you do not want to download the application.
  3. Better to check once too much, than too little
    What does an SMS look like? Are there any typos? Does the link seem abnormal? Does the sender have a long phone number? Then there are often owls in the swamp. And you should take advantage of tip #2.
  4. Does the message reflect the pressure of time?
    Among the various fraudulent tactics, is playing when pressed for time. “Click here to avoid fees” or “Urgent!” They are often expressions that you should be more suspicious of.
  5. Trust your gut feeling!


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