Keeping Yourself and your family safe from a digital infection during the COVID-19 outbreak.

12:45 27/03/2020 - Clarity on the .GOV.UK text messages 

“The Government has only sent one text message to the public regarding new rules about staying at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Any others claiming to be from UK Government are false.”

“Criminals are able to use spoofing technology to send texts and emails impersonating organisations that you know and trust. We would remind anyone who receives an unexpected text or email asking for personal or financial details not click on the links or attachments, and don’t respond to any messages that ask for your personal or financial details.”

A Smishing attack is similar to a phishing attack but instead of using an email the method of transmission is a text message or SMS

People generally fall for smishing pretexts that promise:

  • A call to action.
  • To fill an information void.

COVID-19 offers opportunities for attackers in both approaches. People are desperate for information and are constantly being given updated guidance on how to adapt to remote work and stop the spread of the disease, along with other “helpful tips” to deal with COVID-19. Unfortunately, the occosional text message from a business or government detailing how they will keep you and your family safe during COVID-19 has set the stage for users to expect these text messages and will likely lead to a higher percentage of users treating them as legitimate.

The best way to protect yourself and your family from this specific smishing threat is to:

  • Ensure you educate those around you, especially those who could be considered vulnerable to the threat such as the young and the elderly. 
  • Dont click on any links in text messages. If you are concenred about the content of the messge then visit the registered web address or call the organisation in question on a reliably sourced telephone number.
  • Educate friends and family that attackers will absolutely use COVID-19 as a pretext. 
  • Show them the examples in this document (see below) so they know what to expect.

Examples of COVID-19 Smishing emails:

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Page built and maintained by Dean Russell at the YHROCU