Communications Minister Petra de Satter (Green) wants to be able to put an end to phishing messages before they appear on our smartphones. The new Communications Act, which will be voted on in the House of Representatives today, provides an adapted procedure for this purpose. Telecom operators will soon be able to scan suspicious text messages for possible fraud. For example, cybercriminals who intend to extract banking details via fake websites or emails have less chance of doing so. “In the past, telecom operators had to write word for word to slow down phishing in order to track down suspicious messages,” de Sutter said. “From next year they can do it automatically. Suspicious text messages sent by cybercriminals en masse will then end up on the radar faster and will no longer appear on our mobile phones.”
Phishing is a common problem in Belgium. According to the Veblefen Bank Association, this led to at least 67,000 fraudulent transactions in our country last year, with a total value of 34 million euros. Because of the pandemic, this amount was much higher than normal. More people went online shopping inexperienced, got caught with false government messages, or applied for a non-existent corona bonus via a misleading link. “Scammers are getting more and more creative, and the pandemic has allowed them to take advantage of fear and anxiety,” says Isabel Marchand of Febelfin. “The fact that people were guided by these feelings increases the chance that they will be deceived.” The new system, under which telecom operators can pre-scan messages, will come into force within the next year.
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