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Intelligence Briefings from the War on Spam

Archive for the ‘SMS / Texting’ Category

2014 Message Security Predictions


Wednesday, December 04, 2013 by Neil Cook

As many start-ups are teaching us, eyeballs and information are hot commodities. As online marketers branch out, mobile messaging, in particular SMS, as a communications channel is poised to become the next email — completely saturated with legitimate businesses looking to easily connect with and market to end-users. Marketing firms won’t be the only ones […]

Rise in iMessage spam related to Luxury Goods


Monday, December 02, 2013 by Mark Stemm

Over the weekend I received my first iMessage spam. Here’s a screenshot of the spam message: After asking around at Cloudmark, lots of other people also received a similar spam message, so we decided to look in Cloudmark’s Spam Reporting Service (SRS) to see if we could quantify the scope of the attack. The Spam […]

A Short Term SMS Spam Attack


Tuesday, October 15, 2013 by Andrew Conway

Some SMS spam attacks are long term – the “Free Gift Card” attack was high volume for about a year before the FTC stepped in with restraining orders, the “We Buy Junk Cars” spammer has been relentlessly texting the inhabitants of South Florida for over two years now, and there is no sign of the […]

“Free iPad” Spammers Move On


Wednesday, September 18, 2013 by Andrew Conway

In March of this year the FTC issued indictments and temporary restraining orders against a number of people and companies who they alleged were sending out SMS spam offering free gift cards, iPads, iPhones, etc. After the indictments, we saw a decline in reports of this sort of spam. According to the allegations in the […]

From Cradle to Grave: Targeting Child Support and Social Security with Area Codes


Friday, September 13, 2013 by Tom Landesman

In 2013, we’ve seen spammers up the SMS spam ante using a potent combination of older methods. One of the techniques is to focus on specific area codes for a better return on investment (ROI). Honing in on specific area codes is by no means a new technique, but there are some interesting twists this […]

Mobile Banking and the Threat of SMS Spam


Thursday, August 15, 2013 by Andrew Conway

A recent report from Pew claims that 51% of all US adults bank online, and 32% of all US adults use their phone for banking. These numbers are growing all the time. The days of waiting in line for a bank teller are long gone. Now that your mobile phone can even be used to […]

University of Minnesota SMS Spam Reseach


Monday, August 12, 2013 by Andrew Conway

We were interested to read last week of new research by PhD students at the University of Minnesota into detecting and filtering SMS spam. They detected SMS messages sent to phone numbers assigned for 3G and 4G LTE laptops, tablets, and other devices that don’t normally receive texts. Anyone sending messages to several of these […]

Making the Punishment Fit the Crime


Monday, July 29, 2013 by Andrew Conway

My object all sublime I shall achieve in time — To let the punishment fit the crime — The punishment fit the crime; The FTC would do well to take a lesson from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado. Legal sanctions against spammers should be sufficient to not just to prevent that individual from spamming, but to […]

Cloudmark’s Q2 2013 Threat Report


Wednesday, July 24, 2013 by Tom Landesman

Today, Cloudmark has released its Q2 2013 Threat Report, covering recent messaging threats and trends during the past quarter. During the second quarter, fishy dieting offers and suspiciously free cruises made a splash on the SMS side of things. Meanwhile, a substantial uptick suggests compromised web hosting accounts seem to be making waves among seedier […]

New SIM Card Vulnerability Opens Possibility for Surveillance and Fraud


Tuesday, July 23, 2013 by Andrew Conway

Security researcher Karsten Nohl of Security Research Labs in Germany recently announced a new vulnerability in older SIM cards. This allows a hacker to take over your phone to listen in on your phone calls or send SMS messages to premium rate numbers. The attacker sends an invalid binary SMS message to the phone, and […]


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