How the “anti-scam” filter soon to be deployed by the government could work

Publicity stunt or real solution to scams? The government is developing an “anti-scam” filter to alert Internet users. Presented as a “bulwark against fake SMS scams”the new device should be unveiled in the coming months.

A first version in September

“Who has not received fake SMS on the training account, Social Security, Crit’air vignettes? It’s just unbearable”exasperated Jean-Noël Barrot, the Minister of Digital Transition during an interview with France info. His ministry is therefore working on the development of a filter which should be tested “on the horizon of the Rugby World Cup”i.e. before September 8, and finalized before the Paris Olympics.

SMS scams regularly encourage victims to click on links leading to sites responsible for recovering their personal and banking data. The government device wants to attack these links by displaying a warning message when a French user tries to connect to it. “We must put an end to this anxiety that grips our fellow citizens in the digital spacebelieves Jean-Noël Barrot who wishes guarantee cybersecurity to all French people”. “During international events, you typically see scams multiply”he recalled.

What technical solution?

Technically, no information has yet leaked on how the government wants to set up its system. Several options are possible to apply the tool on the scale of the Internet in France. The government should rely on a list of domain names previously identified as potentially fraudulent. Finally, to apply the blocking, the simplest solution would be to go through a “liar” DNS, as for administrative blockings. The DNS of the main Internet access providers could point to a government server, which would then display a web page or a message aimed at alerting the Internet user.

According to Jean-Noël Barrot’s explanations, the targeted sites should not be totally prohibited. After reading the message, Internet users would have the choice of continuing to browse the site if they so wish. The system potentially in place could also prove ineffective quite quickly. Once a domain name is blocked, scammers could indeed reserve a new one. By the time the site is re-identified, added to the database, and then blocked, many victims could be at a loss.

At the same time, the majority is working on the creation of a “cyberscore”. Like the Nutri-score for food, this indicator would tell the internet user “if the personal or payment data that he will deposit on this site are well secured”. A dot going from green to red should thus be affixed “for the websites most consulted by the French” before the end of the year.

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