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Phones part of SMS botnet

Spammers have been moving into the phone market for a long time. Just recently security firms have discovered an Android  botnet. This botnet sends viruses over SMS, and when a link in the SMS is clicked, the phone is infected with the virus which then sends more SMS.

The technology for blocking and reporting SMS spam is comparable to email blocking technology 10 or 12 years ago. There just aren’t many tools for people to use to control this spam. M3AAWG is addressing mobile spam, but it still seems that the volumes are increasing without much recourse. Even the 7726 reporting number doesn’t seem to stop the spam (nor remove per-text charges).

At least in the beginning of the email spam problem, we didn’t have botnets. Now, at the beginning of the curve for SMS spam, we already have self replicating botnets. I’m afraid the good guys might be behind on this issue.

Then again I might just be cranky because SMS spammers woke us up at 4:30 am.

Infoworld article

TNW article

PCWorld article

6 comments

  1. Chris says

    Self replicating with user involvement.

  2. Steve B says

    And of course its like our cellular providers let us simply block abusive phone numbers from our handsets…

  3. Steve B says

    Pardon me, Its NOT our cellular providers let us simply block abusive phone numbers from our handsets

  4. laura says

    That’s part of my comment about technology. Many, many years ago it was impossible to block mail from certain addresses.

    (Of course, blocking phone numbers has all the problems of blocking on From: addresses and is as trivial to work around…)

  5. Tom Chiverton says

    Reporting is a solved issue here in the UK – most providers have an SMS short code you can forward stuff on to, and just recently people were arrested for unsolicited SMS scams : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20528301

  6. laura says

    You can report here, too. But you still have to call the company to get charges removed and it doesn’t actually stop future spams. Also, if there’s a botnet involved, they’re going to change source numbers faster than they can change IPs.

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