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Beware of AI-generated phishing emails, warns PLDT and Smart

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As the holiday season approaches, online scammers are ramping up their efforts to trick unsuspecting users into revealing their personal and financial information. PLDT and Smart Communications urge the public to be vigilant and cautious when opening emails or messages from unknown sources.

According to the Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) of PLDT and Smart, cybercriminals are using artificial intelligence (AI) to craft more convincing and realistic phishing emails that mimic the style and tone of human writers. These emails also include visual elements that make them look like official communications from banks or organizations.

“AI-crafted emails contain more polished, personalized messages that imitate the writing style of humans. They also contain authentic-looking visual cues that trick victims into believing that they are reading official messages from their banks or organizations,” said Angel Redoble, FVP and Chief Information Security Officer at PLDT, Smart and ePLDT.

Redoble cited a recent study by SoSafe, a Germany-based cybersecurity awareness training service provider, that showed that victims are more likely to fall for phishing emails that are written by AI.

To avoid becoming a victim of phishing, Redoble advised users to always check the sender’s email address and verify its authenticity. He also reminded users to never share their personal or financial information with strangers online.

“The most important thing is to know who the email is from. Remembering the very basic rule of not talking to strangers can protect people from being victimized by scammers,” he said.

PLDT and Smart are committed to protecting their customers from cyber-attacks and online fraud. In the first 11 months of 2023, the PLDT Group blocked nearly 17 billion attempts to access malicious domains after blacklisting more than five million malicious URLs and links related to phishing, spam, hoaxes and other illegal activities. It also stopped more than 60 million SMShing messages from reaching customers in the same period.

Additionally, Smart blacklisted more than 290,000 mobile numbers that were used for nefarious activities from its network in the January to November time frame.

If you encounter a suspicious or malicious message, you can report it to cybersecurityincidents@smart.com.ph. You can also use this channel to report other cybersecurity issues such as phishing, fishing, and malicious domains.

Bryan is a geek at heart and a tech enthusiast by choice. He has a strong background in corporate communications, marketing services, and customer relations having worked in the telecommunications and banking sectors for over two decades. In his spare time, he enjoys watching clips on YouTube and binge watching shows on Netflix.

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