Wearables Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Andreas Grabner, Carmen Gonzalez

News Feed Item

Spammers Target Mobile Users with More Than 350,000 Unique SMS Spam Variants in 2012

Cloudmark, Inc., the global leader in messaging threat protection for communication service providers, today unveiled new research demonstrating the sophisticated and varied methods used by attackers to target mobile users. Cloudmark’s comprehensive 2012 Messaging Threat Report revealed there were more than 350,000 unique unsolicited mobile spam variants in 2012, with the highest churn rate in December with more than 53,000 unique variants alone.

Spammers have favourite categories of attacks and frequently change individual messages in order to try and evade detection, resulting in a large number of variants. The report reveals that the most common unsolicited spam purported to be gift card offerings (44%), iPhone and iPad free giveaways (11%) and, in the UK in particular, Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) compensation (3%), which appeared after legislators determined that refunds were due to loan recipients who had been mis-sold the insurance.

The report findings are gathered through the Cloudmark-powered GSMA Spam Reporting Service, launched at Mobile World Congress in 2012. Mobile users can report their unsolicited spam by forwarding it to ‘7726’ spelling out SPAM on their keyboard. Suspicious texts submitted to this service help Cloudmark tackle spam on behalf of participating carriers, who receive comprehensive reports with detailed information on spam content, senders and reporters, which enables them to block numbers and reduce further spam.

Neil Cook, CTO at Cloudmark, said: “Global smartphone adoption rapidly increased in 2012, with smartphone users passing the 1 billion mark and this has consequentially resulted in a hike in mobile messaging spam. As opposed to email, we often automatically trust that our SMS must come from someone we know or have done business with and attackers are well aware of this wide acceptance, using it to their advantage. Our research is highlighting the growth of sophisticated mobile threats as new mobile technologies develop and 2013 will see a rise in this sophistication.”

The 2012 Messaging Threat Report identifies the top scam trends that will continue in 2013, such as the first Android botnet to be used to send SMS spam and the use of blended messaging threats to dupe mobile users.

SpamSoldier—Android Botnet Spreads SMS Spam

The SpamSoldier Android Botnet, initially seeded via SMS messages, purported to offer free versions of popular mobile games. Unknown to users, the downloaded game files contained both an initial loader program and a pirated copy of the game. When mobile users ran the game, the loader program sent SMS spam, deleted itself and installed the pirated game.

The sophistication of SpamSoldier was further highlighted as the loader simultaneously added a filter to block incoming SMS messages, preventing the user from being notified that they were spamming their contacts. During the period when the spam was first detected in November to when it was taken down in December, it is estimated that the spammer sent between five and ten million SMS messages, resulting in several thousand mobile devices being infected with the malware.

Blended Messaging Threats Bring New Level of Sophistication

Blended messaging threats also built momentum during 2012. These attacks used a combination of email, SMS messaging, instant messaging conversations and mining of social network relationships to send spam. With Affiliate Webcam Spam, for example, spammers start by sending out a sequence of SMS messages that to appear to be one half of an interactive conversation. Scammers then coax the mobile user into ‘conversing’, by sending predetermined questions or answers to the mobile user. From SMS, scammers then entice the user to converse on other platforms such as instant messenger to ultimately lead them to a webcam site which offers an affiliate program that pays $40 per sign up.

Free Offers Most Likely to Dupe Mobile Users

The 2012 Messaging Threat Report also identified the most popular method to dupe mobile users is by offering items for free. ‘Receive a gift card’ and having a ‘trial of an iPad or iPhone’ totaled more than 50 percent of the volume of SMS spam.

This type of ‘giveaway’ spam often requires the mobile user to offer privacy-compromising information via a survey and multiple click-throughs to various sites to qualify for the free ‘gift.’ Spammers are able to extract the user’s personal information to continue to push their scam campaign. Mobile users can qualify to receive the gift but often the costs associated with receiving the product outweigh the gift.

To avoid mobile users becoming victims of unsolicited SMS spam, Cloudmark is offering five tips:

  • Mobile users are strongly encouraged to forward spam texts to their carrier via “7726” spelling out “SPAM” on the keypad
  • Do not text “STOP.” This response only works with text alerts that the recipient has legitimately signed up to, and has the reverse effect for spam texts – merely confirming that the number is live and encouraging the spammer to continue to target that phone
  • Only download mobile applications from reputable app stores and read the terms of service closely
  • Never respond to an SMS requesting login details or other personal details – particularly if it claims to be a bank or financial institution
  • Speak to your mobile operator to see if you can set up content filters on your mobile account so that premium rate texts cannot be charged and adult content displayed.

Notes to Editors

For the complete Cloudmark 2012 Messaging Threat Report, please visit: http://www.cloudmark.com/releases/docs/threat_report/Cloudmark_2012_Annual_Threat_Report.pdf

About Cloudmark

Cloudmark builds messaging security software that protects communications service provider networks and their subscribers against the widest range of messaging threats. Only the Cloudmark Security Platform™ delivers instant security and control across diverse messaging environments, enabling communications service providers to create a safe user experience, protect revenue and safeguard their brand, while streamlining infrastructure and reducing operational costs. Cloudmark's patented solutions protect more than 120 tier-one customers worldwide, including AT&T, Verizon, Swisscom, Comcast, Cox and NTT. For more information, please visit www.cloudmark.com.

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sheng Liang to Keynote at SYS-CON's 19th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1-3, 2016 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, will discuss the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docke...
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...