All SMS sent out in Malaysia will now be intercepted by the Telecommunication service providers, to be screened for “prohibited contents”, as instructed by the Malaysia Government.
The move is said to protect and prevent consumers from becoming victims of online scams.
In February 2023, a directive by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) was issued to all Telecommunications provider, to block all SMSes that contains URL, phone numbers, identity card number, bank account or other personal details. The directive is being implemented starting this month and all SMSes sent in the country will be intercepted and screened for these contents.
Out of the 5 major mobile service provider, 4 service providers, namely CelcomDigi, Maxis, Telekom Malaysia (Unifi) and U Mobile have indicated that they will implement the directive by the Malaysia Government. There are no announcement from YTL Communications (Yes) and the MVNOs yet.
According to a FAQ posted on the Maxis website (screenshot), the blocking of person-to-person SMS with URL link will take effect from 2 May 2023. “You may still share the link via social apps or instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook messenger and WeChat and etc,” it said in the FAQ.
For SMS sent from short code numbers, the Maxis FAQ said, “The blocking URL in SMS is being done in phrases, it starts with SMS between individual, for blocking of URL in SMS sent by business via short codes such as 6XXXX, 2XXXX and 1XXXX will be done later and specific notification to business users will be done,”
Consumers will not be charged if the SMS is blocked.
SMS was never known to be secure or private. SMS, which stands for Short Message Service, is an old-fashioned technology for texting. It’s a way to send text-only messages of up to 160 characters between phones. SMS text messages are not private or secure because it does not support end-to-end encryption and service providers could read contents of all SMSes.
The block/directive does not apply to Internet messaging services such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook messenger, WeChat and other secure platforms as these services offer encryption which makes it impossible for its content to be screened.
[PDF]– Directive by MCMC to intercept and screen SMSes sent in/from Malaysia