Cybercriminals using AI for phishing attacks


Phishing emails have become more deceptive as cybercriminals use artificial intelligence (AI) when launching their attacks, PLDT Inc. warned, reminding the public to be extra vigilant before clicking on attached website links.

In a statement on Friday, the Pangilinan-led telco player advised the public to be cautious against emails containing suspicious links, urging them to carefully read through before responding or accessing the embedded links.

It noted that online scams were expected to surge during the holidays. Cybersecurity experts earlier warned against holiday-themed scams that seek to illegally obtain personal information of unsuspecting victims.

“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,” PLDT chief information security officer Angel Redoble explained.

“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 added.

In January to November, PLDT noted it foiled over 5 million malicious links linked to phishing and other fraudulent activities.

The telco giant also blocked over 60 million text scams in the same period. Meanwhile, over 290,000 mobile numbers were blacklisted after finding out they were engaged in fraud.

The government has implemented SIM (subscriber identity module) card registration in the country to curb the proliferation of text scams as it removes the anonymity of so-called threat actors. However, the cyberhackers have remained persistent in coming up with new ways to trick the public due to financial motives.

In fact, according to cybersecurity firm Surfshark, Filipinos have been victimized by data breache at least once, making the Philippines among the most vulnerable countries in terms of cyberthreats.

Data from Surfshark shows that 124 million accounts in the Philippines have been compromised since 2004, the second highest count in Southeast Asia. Indonesia topped the list with 144 million.

About 70 million passwords were leaked during the period of study, which posed risks for account takeovers that lead to identity theft and extortion.

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