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Cyber Security

Horror Stories from the Dark Web: Shiver Me Timbers, It’s a Scallywag Smisher!

 November 20, 2019

By  Tim Starnes

Tis’ the season for fright! But even after Halloween is over, you’ll want to keep your eyes open for this scary scam. The dark web has extended its slimy tentacles from the depths of the unknown into the revealing light in favor of a much more lucrative crevice: your personal text messages! 

With just a few bits of information, hackers can wreak havoc in a multitude of ways.

But you’re not even sure what smishing means, therefore you couldn’t possibly be the next victim…right? Actually, cyber-assailants prefer that you don’t know their lingo as unsuspecting subjects make easier targets. 

In the next couple of minutes, we are going to remove their cloak of invisibility, expose their sneaky secrets and arm you with the scallywag’s manuscript.  

How Could Text Messages Possibly Contain Dangerous Phishing Attacks?

Text messages can quickly go from harmless to a cry for help when a smisher strikes. Smishing, an attack of your information and privacy using cleverly disguised text messages, look innocent enough to the unsuspecting eye. A text from your mobile carrier prompting you to click on the link and get more information about an “issue with your account”, the “inability to process your recent payment” or to “reset your password” is a direct attempt to infiltrate your life. 

They may warn you of impending charges if you don’t take immediate action, counting on your sense of integrity to lead you into their quicksand. Once the link is clicked on, you’ll be led to an authentic-looking login page in mobile view and all. If you dare to proceed with entering a few details and slamming submit, you have just succumbed to smishing. 

With just a few bits of information, hackers can wreak havoc in a multitude of ways. They now have your real account information, access to log into that account, and any other which uses the same password. If you are like most internet users who prefer high speed and convenience, it’s likely you use the same password for several accounts and even have them saved to your mobile device…a cyber-assailant’s ticket to paradise, on your dime of course.  

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Before you click on any link, take a moment to double-check suspicious or unexpected texts by following a few simple steps:

  • If you can hover over the link within the text without actually clicking on it, check for abnormal web addresses that aren’t compatible with your mobile providers’ main site. 
  • Google the number or use one on a billing statement to call your mobile provider and ask about any necessary updates
  • If you think it may be a legitimate request, go to your browser and type in the web site you know to be correct and see if there are any notifications within your account.
  • Do your best to use a different password for every account you have. That way if one account is compromised, your other information will still be protected.

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