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Cieszyński: operators will have to block phishing text messages

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Mobile operators will have to block phishing text messages and voice calls, emphasized Janusz Cieszyński, government plenipotentiary for cybersecurity. The government passed the relevant regulations on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the government adopted a draft law on combating abuses in electronic communications.

Scammers moved their activities

As Cieszyński told PAP, digital transformation meant that scammers moved their activities to phones and the Internet to deprive their victims of savings. – According to the new regulations, operators will have to block phishing text messages and voice calls, the purpose of which is to impersonate another person or institution – explained the plenipotentiary.

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He added that the government has repeatedly received information about attempts to extort data by fraudsters claiming to be couriers, employees of a bank, Credit Information Bureau or other institution. There were frequent reports of fake text messages informing about an unpaid electricity or gas bill. – Recently, we have also dealt with a phishing campaign in which cybercriminals use the e-prescription formula and impersonate the Ministry of Health – stressed Cieszyński.

According to the authors of the draft, in order to effectively prevent this type of crime, a draft act was adopted to minimize abuses in electronic communication.

New penalties

The draft act introduces penalties for fraudsters, and the new provisions take into account in particular smishing, i.e. fake SMS messages allegedly from couriers, banks or public institutions containing, for example, a link to a page encouraging to provide personal data or transfer funds.

The new solutions are also intended to counteract spoofing, i.e. impersonating the phone number of a trusted institution or other person and attempts to intimidate the victim, extort money or personal data.

The project provides that the CSIRT NASK team will monitor the occurrence of smishing and provide telecommunications undertakings with templates of messages with the characteristics of this crime.

List of numbers

Pursuant to the Act, the President of the Office of Electronic Communications is to keep a list of numbers used only for receiving voice calls. This solution will limit the possibility of fraudsters impersonating hotline numbers of offices or other entities. An application for entry of a number in the list may be submitted by public finance sector entities, banks, other financial or insurance institutions, but also operators by registering telephone numbers used by them for the purposes of the customer service office or helpline.

As explained, telecommunications undertakings will be required to take “proportionate organizational and technical measures” that will prevent abuse in electronic communication. One of such actions is the above-mentioned blocking of SMS messages that contain content with the characteristics of smishing (in accordance with the message template provided by CSIRT NASK) and blocking voice calls whose purpose is to impersonate another person or institution.

The draft also imposes new obligations on e-mail providers for at least 500,000 e-mail providers. users or public entities. From the date of entry into force of the new regulations, they will be obliged to use SPF/DKIM/DMARC authentication mechanisms when providing e-mail services.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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