The authorities fight back against fake text messages

Young woman writes sms.Oslo.Young woman writes sms.Photo: Thomas Brun / NTB scanpix

A total of 37 percent of Norwegians have received text messages from fake senders during the past year, according to a survey from NorSIS.

“Too few are aware that it is almost as easy to send a fake SMS as a real one,” says cyber expert and Senior Adviser Vidar Sandland at the Norwegian Center for Information Security (NorSIS).

According to the Norwegian Communications Authority (Nkom), Telenor blocked 45,000 fraud-related text messages in one day this August. One of the scam techniques that causes the message to be stopped is a fake sender, so-called SMS spoofing.

“The actors who engage in this type of illegitimate manipulation of the sender address are often outside Norway,” says Senior Adviser Johannes Vallesverd at Nkom.

In total, around 20 million text messages were sent through Telenor’s system on this particular day.

The fake text messages are used primarily to trick the recipient into giving out their username, password or credit card information.

“You may also be asked to download a program that in the worst case gives the criminals full access to camera, microphone, files and text messages. It is only their imagination that limits them,” says Sandland.

He emphasizes that downloading this type of monitoring app is in most cases a challenge associated with Android phones.

On behalf of the Ministry of Justice, NorSIS is arranging National Security Month this autumn. One goal of the campaign is for as many Norwegian companies as possible to carry out a training program for their employees.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today


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