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

 Tags

spam sms ico
twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
googleplus.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

Research shows web security products perform well against exploit kits

Research by Virus Bulletin, in which five web security products were served 54 live exploit kits, shows that the products blocked between 87 and 100 per cent of the kits.

Throwback Thursday: Olympic Games

In 1994, along with the Olympic Games came an Olympic virus, from a group of Swedish virus authors calling themselves ‘Immortal Riot’. We look back at Mikko Hyppönen's analysis in the VB archive.

VB2016 call for last-minute papers opened, discounts announced

Announcing the VB2016 call for last-minute papers and a number of discounts on the conference registration rate.

Guest Blog: Malicious Scripts Gaining Prevalence in Brazil

In the run up to VB2016, we invited the conference sponsors to write guest posts for our blog. In the second of this series, ESET's Matías Porolli writes about malicious Visual Basic and JavaScript gaining prevalence in Brazil.

Romanian university website compromised to serve Neutrino exploit kit

The website of the Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy has been compromised to inject a hidden iframe into the site's source code that serves the Neutrino exploit kit and may infect visitors with ransomware.