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Singapore Enhances Measures Against Scams

As part of the multi-pronged fight against scams, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has been working with the Singapore Police Force, Government agencies, and Private Sector partners. There needs to be more than one line of defence, and IMDA is coming up with new ways to protect SMS communication.

In August 2021, a pilot SMS Sender ID Registry was launched. However, due to the increase in SMS frauds, IMDA accelerated the establishment of the Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry (SSIR) in March of this year. SMS that spoof or use registered SSIR IDs were thus prevented upfront, lowering the danger of scams.

Over 120 public and commercial sector organisations have joined the SSIR since its inception. Thus, the number of reported SMS scam cases has decreased threefold as compared to the prior three months.

While the SSIR has had an impact, it is still a voluntary system, in that it is only for organisations that choose to register and safeguard their Sender IDs. However, the public may still be exposed to faked SMS utilising non-registered Sender IDs such as from organisations that choose not to register, or IDs that do not belong to any organisation.

Moreover, IMDA wants to make SSIR registration mandatory for organisations that use Sender IDs to strengthen the scam protection capabilities like the full registration regime. As a result, only registered Sender IDs will be permitted. As a default, all other non-registered Sender IDs will be prohibited. This protects SMS as a communication channel even more.

The agency proposes the following: Using their Unique Identifier, merchants or organisations that employ SMS Sender IDs must register with the SSIR (UEN); and aggregators who desire to process SMS with Sender IDs must participate in the SSIR and authenticate merchant or organisation registrations using their UENs.

These will enable clear identification of the merchants behind the Sender IDs. It increases the guarantee that only legitimate merchants use Sender IDs. As organisations may need time to adjust, a transition period beginning in October 2022 is recommended before the complete SSIR registration requirement goes into effect at the end of 2022.

In addition, machine reading technology has made it feasible to recognise and filter probable fraudulent messages upstream in the telecoms network.

The proposed methods can initially detect malicious links within the SMS that lead to scam websites; telcos can then develop ways to recognise suspicious scam message trends and filter them accordingly. IMDA is soliciting feedback from the public on these suggested initiatives.

The suggested changes are part of an ongoing, multi-layered strategy to enhance security against scammers. This has been done by the telecommunications companies to limit the number of fraudulent calls and text messages entering the communication networks.

Likewise, IMDA advises the public in terms of dealing with scam SMS and calls. Some of these are:

  • Blocking harmful URLs and fraudulent websites after being alerted;
  • In the future, consider giving customers the choice to stop receiving international SMS;
  • SMS aggregators use spoof IDs to block upfront scam communications;
  • Filtering and highlighting international calls;
  • Block international fixed-line and mobile spoofing numbers;
  • Giving customers the choice to not receive international calls.

The IMDA stated that the public should remain vigilant. However, scammers will continue to modify their deceptive methods and strategies. Additional steps to protect telecoms channels are insufficient on their own.

The best defence is a discerning public, in which all consumers are individually vigilant and raise collective awareness by sharing ideas for avoiding scams with their friends.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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