Massive drop in PPI SMS spam after spammers fined

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Feb 12, 2013

Levels still higher than for most of 2012.

Security firm Cloudmark has reported a significant drop in the amount of PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) spam sent via SMS in the UK after two major spammers were fined, but noted that the levels are still higher than they were for most of last year.

SMS spam is still in its infancy, especially in Europe where it is relatively expensive to send SMS messages. A popular type of SMS spam 'informs' users about mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI): the spammers sell the details of those who respond to their messages to companies that help people claim compensation.

However, just like email spam, SMS spam is illegal and regulators - such as the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) in the UK - actively hunt spammers. In November, the ICO fined two major PPI spammers £440,000 (almost US$700,000) for sending large volumes of unsolicited text messages. While the ICO may have a hard time getting hold of the money, since the two men reside in Thailand, the fine seems to have had a significant effect on the volume of PPI spam, which dropped by over 75% straight after the fine was issued.

However, the fight against SMS spam is far from over: spam levels are still higher than they were for most of 2012. And we should spare a thought for users in those countries in which there is a charge to receive SMS messages - for them, SMS spam really is more than a nuisance.

More at Cloudmark's blog here.

Posted on 12 February 2013 by Martijn Grooten

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spam sms ico
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