The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Monday said it was investigating the alleged hacking of the mobile phone of former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Benhur Abalos Jr., who served as campaign manager of presidential bet former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr
“The NTC is still currently investigating the matter in coordination with Globe Telecom, but agrees with the latter that it may be a classic case of ‘SMS spoofing’,” the NTC said in a statement.
In Facebook post on Sunday, Abalos claimed that his Globe cellphone number had been hacked.
“It has been sending out unscrupulous messages. (I) went to Globe office this afternoon to complain (about the hacking incident) and had the number immediately suspended,” Abalos said.
“Please ignore messages that you get from that number,” he added.
In a statement, Globe confirmed it received a report on May 8 that Abalos’ mobile number was spoofed.
The firm said messages using the mobile number of the former MMDA chief were being sent out indiscriminately.
“Globe has taken immediate action to ensure the security of his account,” the telco said.
Globe explained that “spoofing SMS messages” was possible with the illegal use of cell broadcasters.
“Using base station technology, these devices can detect active cellphones within a certain range and directly transmit SMS messages via frequencies that are sent from the machine,” it said.
The NTC said that NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba warned owners of illegal broadcasting devices and their operators would face criminal and civil penalties.
The NTC had given limited authority to use cell broadcasters only for alerts and warnings during disasters and emergencies.
Globe called on the public to be wary of messages originating from this illegal act which targets legitimate mobile numbers to send out unauthorized SMS to multiple users.
“Globe has sought the assistance of the NTC and other law enforcement agencies to stop the illegal use of cell broadcasters,” the telco said.
According to Kaspersky, a cybersecurity solutions provider, phone number spoofing allows scammers to trick individuals into believing they are receiving calls or messages from a particular number – a disguise to entice them to fall for their malicious motivations.