Local Telcos To Block SMSes With URL Links Starting From 2 May
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Several local telcos have said that they will begin blocking SMSes that contain URL links starting from today (2 May 2023), namely Maxis, CelcomDigi, and U Mobile. This comes following a directive from the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commissions (MCMC) early last month, requesting all telcos to do so in a bid to counter online fraud via telco networks.

In addition to blocking SMSes with URL links, the telcos will also block SMS requests for personal particulars. These include names, as well as identity card, bank account, and contact numbers.

Maxis, in particular, has released an FAQ regarding the implementation of this initiative, stating that “the objective of this block is to prevent users from becoming victims of online scams. This block is applicable for SMS sent to or received from local and international mobile number.”

The telco also clarified that it will carry out this effort in phases, starting with SMSes sent between individuals. Meanwhile, SMSes with URL links sent by businesses via short codes (such as 6xxxx, 2xxxx, and 1xxxx) will be blocked at a later date. Maxis further noted that individuals will not be charged for SMSes that are blocked, and advised that if you need to send or receive messages with URL links, you can do so via social apps or instant messaging platforms instead.

(Image: Reuters)

Meanwhile, CelcomDigi and U Mobile have yet to release detailed information regarding their implementation of this initiative as of the time of writing.

In early April, the Ministry of Communications and Digital (K-KOMM) said that the MCMC has issued a directive to all telcos to block links sent via SMS. This is to prevent individuals from getting deceived into clicking links sent by scammers, including those related to online banking and e-wallet transactions or deals. In addition to this latest initiative to combat fraud and scams, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) had also previously called on banks to phase out SMS one-time passwords (SMS OTPs) and use more secure forms of authentication for banking transactions and activities.

(Sources: The Star, Maxis)

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