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Millions of fake text messages stopped by telecom operators

Do you also feel like you are getting few weird text messages anymore? Until recently, an awful lot of nasty text messages were circulating, but since November last year, Telenet and Proximus have been systematically stopping suspicious text messages. Proximus alone was able to stop 16 million messages from scammers, Telecom Minister Petra De Sutter announced.

Everyone knows them, those annoying text messages you get all the time and that make many people wonder.

Mum, this is my new mobile phone number. You can delete the old number.

A parcel is waiting for you! Click here to track your parcel. 

The intention of these messages is simple: to make you click on a link and request your details, or bluntly arouse your trust so that you transfer money to scammers. Precisely these messages have been detected and blocked for several months.

Proximus and Telenet rely on a new platform that can detect suspicious SMS messages thanks to its detection algorithm based on AI and machine learning techniques. This platform came about under the impetus of Minister De Sutter and as part of the national recovery plan. The so-called 'Stop Smishing project' is a collaboration between the Centre for Cybersecurity Belgium (CCB) and BIPT under the responsibility of the minister.

The end of phishing in sight?

Following the success of Stop Smishing, the next step is to stop phishing messages.  Phishing is possibly an even bigger problem than smishing.  Every day, alert citizens forward up to 30,000 suspicious messages to suspicious@safeonweb.be.  By 2023, we received as many as 10 million such messages, which continue to circulate to the annoyance of internet users. 

Telecom operators are increasingly focusing on securing their customers' e-mail accounts. Among other things, artificial intelligence will detect and block suspicious e-mails in the future.  The project is now in a pilot phase, but the prospects are promising.

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