SMS hyperlinks from government agencies still necessary in certain circumstances: Shanmugam

SMS hyperlinks from government agencies still necessary in certain circumstances: Shanmugam

SINGAPORE: Hyperlinks within SMSes from federal government agencies are still necessary when providing public services in certain  circumstances, such as mobilising citizens to get vaccinated against COVID-19, said Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Tuesday (Sep 13).

In order to mitigate the risks, if the government agency analyzes that it is necessary to send out hyperlinks in SMSes, the agency will simply use a domain ending with. gov. sg, said Mr Shanmugam. It will also not inquire users to provide their particular credentials through websites accessed through the hyperlinks.

Mr Shanmugam was responding to a parliamentary question through NMP Shahira Abdullah, who asked about removing hyperlinks from SMSes, which are known to raise the risk of phishing.

The  Inter-Ministry Committee on Scams (IMCS) will continue to keep study the use of links in other sectors and work with sector companions to adjust their make use of if necessary, Mr Shanmugam wrote in his solution.

“As scammers may pivot to communication channels, removing hyperlinks in SMSes does not eliminate the danger of users falling prey to phishing attempts. Users should continue to exercise vigilance, ” he additional.

Earlier this year, the Government said it was critiquing its use of TEXT MESSAGE and clickable hyperlinks when communicating with members of the public.

This arrived after a spate of online banking ripoffs, including an SMS phishing scam including OCBC Bank that affected hundreds of individuals and saw them lose a total of about S$13. 7 million .

Mr Shanmugam said the IMCS takes a “sector-based, risk calibrated” approach to the removal of hyperlinks in SMSes.  

“This is in consideration from the tradeoffs, between the dangers of phishing and the facilitation of providers, which hyperlinks allow, ” he additional.

The inter-ministry committee has worked using the Association of Banks in Singapore to obtain banks to remove hyperlinks in SMSes delivered to retail customers, stated Mr Shanmugam, who will be also Law Ressortchef (umgangssprachlich).