Smishing: the Growing Threat of SMS Based phishing

Smishing—or SMS phishing—has become a common way for cybercriminals to abuse mobile users. Smishing texts try to get users to provide personal information or download malware. Understanding and fighting against smishing attacks is essential for personal and corporate security as mobile devices become ubiquitous.  Smishing is a sophisticated type of cyber-attack that exploits the inherent trust and immediacy associated with text messaging. Unlike email phishing that can be blocked by spam filters, text messages are transmitted directly to the recipient’s phone, hence bypassing numerous security measures.

How Smishing Works

The Setup: The first step in a smishing attack involves the attacker crafting a deceptive text message that appears to originate from a trusted source. This could be a bank, a government agency, a well-known corporation, or even a contact from the victim’s phone book. The key to the setup is to make the message seem legitimate and urgent, compelling the recipient to act quickly without thinking.

The Hook: Once the recipient is convinced of the message’s authenticity, the attacker provides a “hook” to lure the victim into a trap. This hook often comes in the form of a link to a bogus website or a phone number that connects directly to the attacker.

Extraction: The attacker can abuse access acquired when the victim responds to the smishing attempt by providing information, visiting a link, or downloading a file. This might entail bank account theft, identity theft, or malware distribution.

Examples of Smishing Attacks:

Bank Alerts: Smishers often send an SMS from the victim’s bank reporting suspicious activity on their account. It asks the receiver to visit a link or phone a number to authenticate their identification, leading to a phishing site or scam call center.

Delivery Notification: With the increase in online shopping, smishers often exploit delivery notifications. The victim receives a text message about a missed delivery or a package that needs rescheduling, along with a link that leads to a fake website designed to capture personal details.

Protecting Against Smishing

To defend against smishing, individuals and organizations must adopt a multi-faceted approach that includes awareness, technology, and best practices.

Education and Awareness: Regularly educate yourself and others about the dangers of smishing and how to recognize suspicious messages. Be wary of unsolicited messages that request personal information, require quick action, or include links and files.

Verification Protocols: Always verify the legitimacy of messages before responding. Contact the supposed sender directly using official channels—such as customer service numbers from a company’s website rather than using contact information provided in the text message.

Security Measures: Utilize mobile security software that can help detect and block malicious links and messages. Always keep your phone’s operating system (OS) and apps updated to the latest versions.

Best Practices: Think before clicking! Do not open links or download attachments from unfamiliar communications. Be wary of urgent or panicked texts. Report questionable messages to your mobile carrier or authorities. Smishing evolves, so remaining aware and watchful is the greatest protection.


By understanding smishing and taking precautions, people and organizations may avoid this rising hazard. Remember, when it comes to unsolicited messages, a cautious approach is not just advisable—it’s necessary.


Ben Tagoe,

CEO, Cyberteq Falcon Ltd.,


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