NTC investigates hacking of former MMDA chair’s smartphone number

Published May 10, 2022, 9:07 AM

by MB Technews

NTC Office

The National Telecommunications Commission is investigating the hacking of former MMDA Chair Benhur Abalos’s smartphone number, which has been allegedly breached by phishers in the morning of May 8.

Abalos warned the public through a Facebook post to ignore messages from his “spoofed” [cellphone] number, which he had immediately suspended.

According to Kaspersky, a cybersecurity solutions provider, phone number spoofing allows scammers to trick individuals to believe they are receiving calls or messages from a particular number- a disguise- to entice them to fall for their malicious motivations.

Abalos Jr. brought the matter before Globe Telecoms and the National Telecommunications Commission.

As per Globe Telecom’s findings, it was validated that Abalos Jr.’s number did not send out the said “unscrupulous messages”.

The Globe security operations team further noted that Abalos Jr. is possibly a victim of illegal broadcaster devices prohibited by the NTC under “The Radio Control Law”.

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”.

NTC Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba warned that owners of illegal broadcaster devices and their operators will face criminal and civil penalties.

“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,” wrote Abalos Jr., who is the national campaign manager of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.