May 01, 2012
Report: Mobile Text Spam Hits 4.5 Billion Messages per Year
Whether it's called text spam, junk texts, or just a plain old nuisance, the numbers of unwanted text messages advertising products and services is climbing in the United States, and increased 45 percent just last year to hit a staggering 4.5 billion total messages in 2011 alone.
And with those mobile users who pay for incoming messages, this is a significant problem. Fraudulent texts are also an issue, and many believe the matter is driven by the way mobile phone providers charge for texts.
Wireless customers that don't have a texting plan can be on the hook for as much as 20 cents per received text, and tracing spam back to its originator can often result in a dead end. Prepaid phones are also difficult to trace to their purchasers, who can easily pay in cash for both the phone and the service.
Worse still are fraudulent texts, in which a target receives a text message about winning a contest, and all they have to do is click on a link. The link can, in turn, infect a phone with malware that can do a variety of things, from collecting information to authorizing charges on the subscriber’s bills.
But despite the fact that spam texting is a big business for many mobile providers, who often get paid by the received text for those users without texting plans, mobile providers are also discovering big costs involved in sending those texts on. Users receiving spam texts contact customer service lines in a bid to stop these messages, and a customer service contact can cost a company from $5 to $50 to address just one spam text complaint.
And with the Federal Trade Commission getting involved, that can put even more pressure on mobile providers to do something about numerous texts leaving some doors and entering others.
This has also created a whole new market for anti-spam software at the phone level, which suggests companies like Cloudmark are in line for acquisition, and companies themselves are working to develop anti-spam solutions.
CTIA (News - Alert) projects a new anti-spam effort at the carrier level will be unveiled by the end of this year, and considering that one in five Americans has used a mobile device for banking in the last 12 months, it is likely.
Any device requires security, especially those devices that contain valuable and sensitive information, or handle similarly sensitive tasks. Just what form this security will take remains to be seen, though it's clear security for mobile devices is a growing necessity.
Edited by Braden Becker
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