Saturday, April 13, 2024

Telstra to hack phone scammers

Scam text messages purporting to be from Australian government services agencies will be blocked under a new Telstra cyber security trial.

Telstra says it will work with the Australian Cyber Security Centre and Services Australia to block SMS scam messages.

The trial will see messages claiming to be sent from Centrelink or MyGov with malicious links or requests for personal information rejected across the Telstra network.

Telstra chief executive, Andy Penn, said the incidence of these types of scams had escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic, when more Australians had been at home.

“The level of activity we’re experiencing in relation to cyber crime is very, very significant so this is going to be very important,” Mr Penn said.

He said Telstra technology meant the scam messages could be blocked by identifying metadata.

“It will not completely eliminate the risk, but it does eliminate a lot of the activity.”

Defence Minister, Linda Reynolds, said scam attacks had increased during the pandemic as people increasingly relied on government services.

“Cyber criminals are really cruelly capitalising on Australians’ use of these services during the pandemic,” she said.

“These services are providing really important lifelines for millions of Australians today, and cyber criminals really are capitalising on Australia’s use of the services during the pandemic.”

Government Services Minister, Stuart Robert, said government agencies never send URLs or ask for usernames or passwords over the phone.

In the past 12 months, the Australian Cyber Security Centre has received 60,000 cybercrime reports from individuals and businesses equating to one every 10 minutes.

The Telstra trial program is set to be rolled out next year.

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