SMS PVA Part 2: Underground Service for Cybercriminals

Trend Micro -

In this sample, we can see an Indonesian mobile number with an “ethnically” matching photograph in Whatsapp (presumed real account of the owner), but with a Russian name in Telegram (account presumed to have been registered using SMS PVA).

These are just some illustrations of the common trend we saw on Either the accounts have different names across different services, or the country of the mobile phone does not match the language used in the account. To us, this shows the victim’s mobile numbers were successfully used and registered by operators availing of the service..

A “win” for cybercriminals

SMS verification has become the standard method that online services platforms and services used to confirm that one person is only using one account. But because of new services like SMS PVA, cybercriminals can now bypass this method and even capitalize on it.

Here are a few benefits of such service for cybercrime actors:

Anonymity. With SMS PVA, cybercriminals can make use of disposable numbers for their account registrations without worrying that the accounts and numbers can be traced back to them. Some countries would require identification when purchasing SIM cards and they don’t even have to worry

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