How Businesses Can Defend Themselves Against Smishing

Most businesses and individuals are already familiar with phishing—a cybercriminal attack leveraging fraudulent emails to manipulate recipients into sharing sensitive information. However, a new form of phishing called “smishing” has emerged over the years. Smishing relies on the same tactics as phishing but targets victims through text messages rather than email. 

Smishing is often assisted by malware or fraudulent websites and occurs on many mobile text messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, or even Instagram direct messages. This method of cyberattack has grown in popularity as people are more likely to trust a text message received through an app than a message received via email. 

It’s imperative that businesses are aware of the detrimental effects of smishing as cybercriminals can obtain sensitive information to commit fraud or other cyberattacks. In this blog, we will break down how smishing works and what your business can do to protect itself. 

How Does Smishing Work?

Smishing is a social engineering cyber attack that relies on deception and exploiting human trust. The main goal of cybercriminals is to steal valuable personal or business information, which they can use to commit fraud. Typically, this entails stealing money from you or the company. 

The attacker will use the identity of someone you trust, often your bank account, so you are more likely to succumb to their requests. Social engineering principles allow smishing attackers to manipulate victims’ decisions. The three driving factors of deception are:

  • Trust: Cybercriminals lower their target’s skepticism by posing as legitimate individuals or organizations. Since smishing is done through text messages, it also naturally lowers people’s defense against a threat.
  • Context: Smishing messages are often personal and leverage relevant situations to allow attackers to build effective disguises. This can include package delivery scams, bank account scams, IRS scams, or fake contest winner scams, just to name a few. 
  • Emotion: Attackers override recipients’ critical thinking and incite them into rapid, emotional reactions by heightening their target’s emotions. 

These methods trick innocent people to take action and typically open a URL link within the text message. This URL link leads to a phishing tool prompting them to disclose sensitive information or to a tool that installs malware onto their device. 

How To Prevent Smishing Attacks

Although falling for a smishing attack can be dangerous to you or your company, the good news is that it’s easy to protect against them with the proper education. In essence, smishing only works if you take the bait.

Be mindful that text messaging is a legitimate means for institutions to reach you, however, all messages received should be carefully reviewed. To defend your business against potential smishing attacks, consider the following tips listed below.  

Provide Employee Training

It’s essential for employers to provide routine employee training on smishing detection and prevention. This training should teach employees to look out for key signs of smishing in text messages (e.g., lack of personalization, generic phrasing, and urgent requests). Employees should be instructed to avoid interacting with such messages and report them to their IT departments. 

Take Time To Respond

The best way to prevent falling victim to a smishing attack is by taking time to respond and never reacting immediately. Cybercriminals will send text messages that seem like emergencies, so approach urgent account updates or limited-time offers with caution.

Call Your Bank Directly

There are a variety of different tactics cybercriminals use to lure victims, but posing as your bank account is the most common. Legitimate banking institutions won’t request account updates or login info via text message. Therefore, if you get any suspicious messages claiming to come from your bank account, don’t answer, and immediately call your bank or merchant directly. 

Ensure Adequate Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) Procedures

In today’s business climate, everyone brings cell phones to work. This makes it a priority to establish solid BYOD procedures to ensure employees act appropriately when utilizing their smartphones for work-related purposes. These procedures may include using private Wi-Fi networks, implementing multi-factor authentication capabilities, and conducting routine device updates. 

Implement Access Control

Businesses can drastically reduce the chances of cybercriminals compromising excess data or securing unsolicited funds by only allowing employees access to information needed for their job duties. Access control is a key component of preventing smishing attacks.


Utilize Proper Security Software

Businesses should ensure that all company-owned smartphones are equipped with up-to-date security software. In particular, smartphones should possess antivirus programs, spam detection systems, and message-blocking tools.

Purchase Sufficient Coverage

It’s vital for businesses to secure proper cyber insurance to protect against potential losses stemming from smishing incidents. Businesses should consult trusted insurance professionals to discuss specific coverage needs.

Alltrust Insurance has fused its risk management expertise with Acrisure’s Cyber Services. Together, we can provide businesses with the highest level of cyber security solutions to protect your organization from cybercrime. 

Steps To Take After a Smishing Incident

No matter how well prepared you and your employees are, smishing attacks are cunning and are sometimes very difficult to avoid. You need to establish a plan in case someone in your company falls victim. 

Take these steps to limit the damage and consequences of a successful smishing attempt:

  • Report the attack immediately to any institutions that can assist.
  • Freeze your credit to prevent future or ongoing fraud.
  • Change all passwords and PINs for accounts with sensitive information
  • Monitor your finances, credit, and other online accounts for suspicious activity. 

Following these steps in the case of a successful smishing attack will prevent cyber criminals from inflicting serious damage on your business. Also, make sure to track all compromised accounts or losses to report to your cyber insurance provider. 

Stay Protected With Experts in the Industry

Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated on a daily basis and pose a real threat to the state of your business. That’s why you need protection from experts in the industry. At Alltrust Insurance, we have the capabilities and resources to provide your business with top-of-the-line email and text message security, advanced anti-virus programs, security awareness training, and much more.

We don’t just protect your business from smishing attacks, we enable your organization to equip itself with the right tools to minimize risk. For more information on our cyber services, please contact us today to set up an appointment. 


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