Most hit phones just before Christmas

MWC 2013: Over 350,000 SMS spam variants found in 2012

Messaging security specialist Cloudmark reports more than 350,000 unique variants of mobile messaging spam last year, with 53,000 (the highest rate) arriving in the festive month of December.

Gift card offers are the most common forms of spam at 44 per cent, while free iPhone and iPad giveaways accounted for 11 per cent of nuisance messages, particularly in the UK. Compensation, meanwhile, accounts for three per cent.

The findings come via the Cloudmark-powered GSMA Spam Reporting Service, launched at Mobile World Congress last year, which allows mobile users to report their unsolicited spam by forwarding it to ‘7726’ (SPAM on their keyboard).

Neil Cook, CTO at Cloudmark, said: "Global smartphone adoption rapidly increased in 2012, with smartphone users passing the one billion mark and this has consequentially resulted in a hike in mobile messaging spam.

"As opposed to email, we often automatically trust that our SMS must come from someone we know or have done business with and attackers are well aware of this wide acceptance, using it to their advantage. Our research is highlighting the growth of sophisticated mobile threats as new mobile technologies develop and 2013 will see a rise in this sophistication."

The report notes the top scam trends that will continue in 2013 below:

* The SpamSoldier Android Botnet, initially seeded via SMS messages, purported to offer free versions of popular mobile games.

* Blended messaging threats use a combination of email, SMS messaging, instant messaging conversations and mining of social network relationships to send spam.

* The most popular method to dupe mobile users is by offering items for free.

SMS image from Shutterstock

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