SMS Spam Gets Chinese Execs Fired, Keeps US Shoppers out of Wal-Mart
Article by George Norman
On 24 Mar 2009
Spam messages, regardless of the manner in which they reach you (email or SMS) are at the very least annoying as the information they provide is most times erroneous and unsolicited, not to mention the fact that they pose a considerable security risk since they lead you to malware spreading sites. In China for example, SMS spam has taken such huge proportions that the authorities had to take steps against it.

“Mobile phone spam sent via SMS text message is a huge problem in China. According to statistics from the Internet Society of China (ISC), an astonishing 353.8 billion spam text messages are sent every year in the country. I calculate that means 600 cell phone spam messages per Chinese mobile phone owner every year! Thankfully, the-powers-that-be recognize the problem and are taking some action,” explained Sophos’ Graham Cluley.

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As a CCTV (the state-run TV station) investigation revealed, some of that spam originated from China Mobile bureaus and affiliates, and consequently some punitive measures needed to be handed down. Consequently China Mobile announced that it has identified the culprits and has resorted to taking the following steps against its branches in the Shandon province: it has fired the deputy general manager of the Dezhou branch and it has also fired the deputy manager of the client services department of the Rizhao division.

An SMS spam round is also making its rounds in the US at the moment, warning Wal-Mart shoppers to stay away from the store as they might get killed. Here are two examples of the spam messages that are going around at the moment:

1. “Police are asking all women not to go to any Walmart tonight there is a gang initiation and three women will be shot this is not a joke pls forward.”
2. “Do not go to any walmart tonight. Gang initiation to shoot 3 women tonight. Not sure which walmart. And confirmd on tv. Forward 2 all girls on ur phone.”

The interesting part is that these messages are not being distributed by some spammer, but by the phone users themselves. It is a classic case of “I’ve received this message so I’ll better help by spreading the word,” without bothering to check if there is any truth behind such claims. Even a simple visit to Wal-Mart’s official web page would have informed these people that there is no “gang initiation” whatsoever. The other interesting thing is that this spam campaign is not exactly new – it has been making its rounds online since July 2005. It just goes to show you that you must not take any info for granted, you must make sure it originates from a trustworthy source and you should take the time to check the facts if you have any reasons to doubt its truthfulness.



Tags: Spam, SMS
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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