back to article Mobile subscribers showered with spam

Mobile operators are being warned to brace themselves for a global upsurge in mobile messaging abuse. The growth of mobile messaging, reductions in message delivery costs, inherent network vulnerabilities, and new mobile marketing initiatives are converging to create a perfect storm for abuse, according to mobile security firm …


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  1. Steve Browne

    Revenue streams

    As if mobile operators don't charge enough! Vodaphone profits are 25% of turnover and they want more!

    I shall quite happily change my SIM should I start to get any spam. It is MY phone, I paid for it and I have it for MY convenience not the convenience of advertisers.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Zero sum game?

    "SMS faking and spoofing attacks from off-network sources cost operators hundreds of thousands of dollars each month in inter-carrier roaming and connection charges, according to Cloudmark."

    Surely if all the operators are just paying each other money, nobody loses out? Or, looked at another way, surely the operators are making just as much money charging other carriers for carrying their spam as they are losing vice versa?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Nothing to do with us, mate...

    I received a spam message on my Orange mobile which looked like something from Orange themselves and tricked me into accessing a premium rate service.

    When I contacted Orange to complain, they flatly denied that the mechanism I described could happen and refused to do anything about it. So I walked, which cost them a loyal 8-year customer spending on average £70/month.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "One in four messages sent to mobile devices via email in North America are made up of spam, according to figures from Cloudmark's mobile operator clients in the region."

    Granted, anecdotal evidence is just that, but in seven years of using various phone services, I've gotten... let's see... three spams. It might have been two, but the last one was so long ago that it's hard to tell.

    I don't know anyone who's gotten more than one or two, either. So where do these numbers come from? Am I just incredibly lucky?

  5. Dave

    Dodgy Dealers

    My usual form of mobile spam is some dealer masquerading as Orange and trying to get me to upgrade. Now that I've ported my number elsewhere, they do stick out like a sore thumb. Sadly it appears that the ASA can't do anything about them in the UK, not having been issued with the correct set of teeth.

  6. Andrew Heenan

    Operator Problem

    Why is it that spam is allowed to be a consumer issue? Whether email or mobile, the problem could be dealt with easily and cheaply if there was a will to do it.

    With emails, I can delete 300 spam as easily as three (and gmail seperates them out for me, at least!). But with a mobile, I'll be wasting time and effort (and possibly cash) just keeping the stuff at bay. So people will begin to select operator on the basis of spam control.

    May the best company win.

  7. Jason DePriest

    SPAM isn't free

    My current (American) phone plan charges me per message for SMS receiving and sending. I want to know if companies are prepared to refund customers the cost of unsolicited messages? Granted, like David Wiernicki I've received very few SPAM messages on my phone (maybe three?), but I still don't want to pay for them.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    No brainer?

    ..need an 'accept SMS only from people in my phonebook' option?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    spam spam and more spam

    The same day that our wonderfully big business focused government here in the uk has announced it will try and pursue us via our ISPs for filesharing, legal or not, there is more news that spam is on the up.

    As another poster noted, it is always the customer who has to deal with this stuff, it would be nice if issues that matter to you and me were the focus of legislation, things like dealing with spammers.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you can download tinned food from your mobile?

    personally only ever received spam from orange advertising their worthless upgrades i "forgot to buy this month" every single month

    This week: claim that SMS spam is a huge problem

    Next week: come up with solution to major spam problem - get rid of cheap pricing, "for the benefit of our customers" of course

    and i didn't even need a crystal ball to make that prediction

  11. Joe Harrison

    Mobile spam is a menace

    I've had several which present as a "service message" rather than normal regular short message. Wondering what that was I opened it which started a GPRS session and took me to some dating website. Clicked couple of links trying to figure what was going on and hey presto that counted as "consent" to receive a stream of useless messages that cost a quid each and hard to switch off. Unsurprisingly nobody gave a toss when I tried to complain.

  12. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Some filter it..

    So far with my Verizon Wireless service I have only ever received 1 spam in about 4 years. I forwarded it to someone at the company and they credited me the SMS cost (plus probably did something about it.) What companies should do, and apparently VZW does:

    1) They have strong spam filters in place. I haven't heard of anyone getting like 10 spams a day, but subscribers to some other phone cos in the states will apparently get like 5 or 10 a month.. so either it's unfiltered or the filters are leakier. The one spam I did get, apparently a lot of people got 1 or 2 that week, VZWs spam filter temporarily broke down apparently.

    2) SUE THE SPAMMERS. "The big V" is apparently quite agressive in suing SMS spammers.. and my understanding is because of this they get much less spam to begin with than other cell cos who don't bother to sue.

  13. Morely Dotes

    Tough shit

    "mobile spam will prompt [subscribers] to change providers or opt out of mobile advertising and marketing opportunities"

    Awww. Will the poor widdle scumbags trying to sell snake oil to the cellphone subscribers find themselves (rightly) regarded as subhuman parasites, to be shunned and reviled?


    The Jolly Roger, because it's also the marking on the bottle of rat poison, which should be fed to all "marketers" at birth.

  14. Andre

    Why is SMS so expensive anyway?

    It costs me $0.15 to send a text message. It costs me $0.10 to talk for one minute to someone on the other side of the country. Why does it cost 50% more to send a one-way 160-byte blip, than a 1 minute full-duplex conversation?

    If they're going to charge me that much, then I just won't use it. Add spam to the mix and I'll ignore text messaging completely.

  15. vincent himpe
    Thumb Down

    just give me 1 option:

    to turn off the SMS service comletely on my phone. No incoming , No outgoing. I don't need it and don't want it.

    I've had my cellphone for 15 years and have NEVER sent an SMS in my life !

    What's the point of typing barely readable tekst on a fingercramp inducing numerical keyboard, if you can simply call the person and talk to him/her? I can talk waaaaay faster then i can type. (and thats the case for almost everyone). And if the other person doesnt pick up : leave a voice message , or call back later !

    People complain they don't have enough time and are feeling rushed and stressfull.

    if you can spend 5 minutes to punch in an SMS message that can be said in 20 seconds, send it, and then wait for the other party to text you back, then you have waaaay to much time on your hands!

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Simple solution...

    I get no SMS spam. I won't ever get any. Because I use a nice, hefty brick made in 1995 that doesn't do SMS. Or any of that other crap modern "phones" do. It lets me phone people. That's what a phone is for. Anybody getting SMS spam, stop whining and get a cellphone instead of a multimedia toy. Or start harassing your telco to offer an SMS-free plan. I don't need SMS; if somebody can't be bothered to actually talk to me about something I don't want to read it.

  17. TeeCee Gold badge
    Black Helicopters

    Tinned food?

    Close, but no cigar. It actually goes like this.

    Industry needs something from Government. Government asks industry to raise issue of SMS spam and tout the mandatory pre-registration of PAYG SIMs as a solution to part of the problem.

    Government pats industry on head and raises issue that knowing that your spam came from "M. Mouse" is of no help and that what's *really* required is some sort of bullet proof ID card to prove...........

  18. Neil

    A title is required (Bloody vodafone)

    The only mobile spam I get is from my provider - the glorious vodafone. Luckily they provide a number to forward all spam sms messages to - it's 'vspam' or 87726 if anybody is interested...

    I've been diligently sending all their spam messages back to them in the hope that it's helping to train some bayesian based spam filter. They even send me a courtesy response saying 'thanks for reporting spam sms messages to us'.

    Always gives me a nice warm feeling inside....

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