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Part 1: The rise of SMS spamming

Spam is a common annoyance for most email users. Over the years we’ve all developed the skills to detect a spam email simply from the sender or subject line. We don’t even need to open the email, and if we do, we’re aware of suspicious looking content, attachments and links. This is why spammers are moving towards the art of mobile spamming.

Over 2 billion junk SMS messages are sent around Europe every month.

Text spam guarantees a much greater rate of receipt and opening, on a much tighter time scale. Only 25% of spam emails that make their way through the various filters put in place by networks, internet providers and security software are actually opened. This is a tiny fraction of the number of emails that are originally sent. Compared with SMS messages, of which 90% are opened within 15 minutes of receipt. So even though the volume of text messages sent is much lower, the receipt rate is considerably higher.

Phones also offer a more direct route to stealing money. Nearly all phones nowadays are linked directly to a bank account. Tricking email users into sending their credit card numbers is a tough game, but accessing phones and then racking up huge amounts of money through premium rate phone calls and texts is comparatively simple. There is no reliance on the users responding with personal information, which let’s face it, most of us are not going to hand out. The biggest difficulty lies in the volume of messages it’s possible to send out, whereas millions of emails can be blasted out at once, text messaging just isn’t that simple.

Watch this space to find out about SMS malware.

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