A successful pilot program to block scam SMS messages nation-wide has been revealed and is likely to be extended and expanded.
Details of how the program works are unclear, but are likely to include police surveillance powers, scanning on the telco side and detecting key words and phrases.
The pilot program was able to block 2,500 phishing texts over the past 12 months that purported to be from government agencies but were in fact scams.
Perhaps we should know better than to give this government the benefit of the doubt when it comes to reporting metrics, but we’re assuming this means 2,500 scam text “initiatives” and not 2,500 individual texts. If it were individual texts, that would just be a drop in the bucket. Surely. Surely.
That’s backed up by Minister for Government Services, Senator Linda Reynolds saying “One year on from the pilot’s launch, 2,500 SMS scams that would have otherwise circulated in the community have been blocked.”
Something that’s closer to the whole bucket is blocking millions of scam calls, which was achieved through the Reducing Scam Calls Code. While Minister Fletcher claims the program has blocked more than 214 million scam calls, the Australian Communications and Media Authority puts this number at 30 million.
Minister or Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher called on banks, NBN and Australia Post to adopt similar programs so Australian’s wouldn’t mistake their texts for fakes.
Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said “phishing messages were one of the most common ways for cybercriminals to compromise users and the initiative had been successful in preventing such messages from getting through to phones.”
Just three days ago we reported that Australian Federal Police commissioner Reece Kershaw’s family had fallen for a voice call scam. It’s something anyone can fall for, if they’re not watching for it.
According to Kershaw:
“In my family we had some issues where a company purported to be Telstra – wasn’t Telstra – and managed to get away with some funds. It’s touching all of us. I think all of us have stories like that.”