TELCO giant Globe has started the temporary blocking of all text messages that contain clickable Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) and website links in a bid to stop text scams.

In a statement, Globe Telecom said the blocking includes messages coming from all networks, either prepaid or postpaid numbers.

It said this will be implemented pending passage and implementation of the SIM Registration Bill, which was ratified by both Houses of Congress on Wednesday, September 28, and is expected to be transmitted to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for signature.

"Before implementing this measure, what we were doing was blocking access to malicious links in text messages to help protect customers. This time around, we're blocking the actual message. If the SMS has a link of any kind, we are not going to deliver it, period. This is necessary to protect our customers," Globe Chief Information Security Officer Anton Bonifacio said.

Earlier, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a memorandum directing the telecommunication firms in the country to deactivate clickable URLs, links, and quick response (QR) codes in text messages amid the proliferation of spam and phishing text messages.

So far, Globe blocked 784 million scam and spam messages from January to the end of July 2022.

It also deactivated 14,058 scam-linked mobile numbers and blacklisted 8,973 more within the same period.

It said it has spent $20 million or about P1.1 billion in capital expenditures to date to step up its capabilities in detecting and blocking scam and spam messages of international and domestic sources, including app-to-person and person-to-person SMS.

Meanwhile, the company expressed support to the SIM Registration Bill, noting that it will strengthen the government’s capacity to apprehend criminals involved in crimes committed through mobile phones.

It said it worked closely with the lawmakers to ensure the credibility of the system.

"We are taking this measure for the security of our 92 million customers at Globe and 66 million more using GCash, as we note how the modus operandi of fraudsters is becoming even more sophisticated. We hope this will make a major dent on various spam and scam SMS rackets," said Bonifacio.

"This major step reflects our commitment to the country's economic recovery by ensuring that the accelerated digital adoption does not expose customers worsening cyber threats," he added. (SunStar Philippines)