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Monday, 15 February 2021 11:53

Watch out for fake CommBank phishing SMS

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An SMS popped into my iPhone's messages inbox last night, proclaiming to be an "IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM COMMBANK". Given I don't use that particular bank, well, it was obviously a scam, but some might be fooled.

Hackers. They're everywhere, trying everything in every which way to see who they can entrap into divulging information they shouldn't, in what is a giant numbers game that, sadly, ensnares enough people to make such numbers games worthwhile.

After all, the message arrived at 6.45pm on a Sunday night, which could be a hectic time.

You might be getting the kids some dinner, or ready for school the next day. Perhaps you're relaxing with a glass of your favourite alcoholic beverage by this time, or perhaps its you're otherwise distracted watching the news or some other content.

Whatever the situation of the person receiving the message, it's yet another attempt to prey on people and catch them unawares.

The message itself, which you can see above, says *IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM COMMBANK*.

It is then followed up with this message: "For your security we have locked your Netbank. To restore your access, call us on 13 2221 or go to https:// the commbank . app /? restore and follow the prompts."

I just checked and the number is real, but the web address, which I have spaced out so that it isn't a live link, looks dodgy as anything, but to an everyday CommBank customer, it kinda looks legit, which of course, is part of the trick and trap.

Once you "follow the prompts", you have either divulged your user name and password, or have had a rogue site try to install malware onto your Windows PC or Android phone.

Who knows, the bad guys may also be trying unpatched security vulnerabilities on older versions of macOS and iOS to catch those users, too.

Naturally, if you ever get such SMS messages, emails or even phone calls, and you're unsure whether it is a scam or not, please don't click on any links or use any numbers listed in SMS messages or emails.

If someone calls you purporting to be from an organisation, you can always thank the person for their call, and then find out the phone number of that organisation from their website (don't trust what someone tells you is the number over the phone or in an SMS or email), and then call the customers service department of that organisation back to verify whether you are really being called or contacted by that organisation.

I would expect that the vast majority of iTWire readers are more than tech savvy enough not to fall for these kinds of scams, but what about each reader's spouse, children, parents, other relatives or friends?

The bad guys are relentless and they'll try every trick in the book to scam you, so it's definitely worth reminding people you know that these phishing attempts are alive and well, and that we must all be on guard to make sure we don't become victims of cybercrime.

After all, renowned hacker Kevin Mitnick famously used "social engineering" to trick people into giving our sensitive information, which was incredibly successful.

Yes, Mitnick was eventually caught by the FBI and spent five years in jail, but you are your own best protection, so stay vigilant, and treat unexpected SMS messages and emails with the utmost suspicion before blithely handing out sensitive usernames, passwords and other personal information to strangers.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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