Personalized spam messages? Could be a data breach - group


Posted at Sep 01 2022 12:07 PM

Watch more on iWantTFC

MANILA – It is possible that a data breach or leak led to the spread of personalized spam text messages, a digital advocacy group said Thursday.

Some Filipinos recently flagged on social media the proliferation of spam text messages containing their names. 

“We believe that is a very big possibility, that private companies or even government agencies were exposed to data breach or there is a possibility that there has been a leak in the data that an entity is holding, an agency or company is holding,” Digital Pinoys national campaigner Ronald Gustilo told ANC’s “Rundown.”

Gustilo said it is also possible that the data may have been obtained from digital forms—such as contact tracing forms—that Filipinos filled up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added, however, that it is unlikely that private information was obtained from forms that were filled up by hand.

“It’s also a possibility that those signup forms could have been compromised in the first place. However, the signup forms, the one where we write manually, it would be tedious to encode them one by one,” he said.

Gustilo said government should investigate this possible data breach immediately.

“That is something that the National Privacy Commission should investigate and find out as soon as possible because we have to know where the personal information came from.”

He also said there is little the public can do—other than blocking the sender’s number—to protect themselves from spam messages.

“The bulk of educating the people should come from the government,” he said.

Gustilo also pushed for the inclusion of cyber security in the education curriculum, so more kids can be aware of how to protect themselves from cyberattacks.

“These children do not know the risk that goes along with handling gadgets.”

--ANC, 1 September 2022