Got an interesting message on my Mobile today. The message is from "Peggy" and is a Service Message rather than a normal SMS Message. It's only content is
I have contacted both Vodafone and Regtel about this, however due to the way Vodafone's system works, their customer service won't be able to get access to the needed record until 24 hours have elapsed.
I decided to look into it and have turned up some interesting information about the people responsible for the spam. A whois of vkap.net indicates that "Venista Holding GmbH & Co. KG" are the registrants. They have have the same annonying flash based site at www.venista.de, www.venista.com and venista.co.uk. There is a piece of text at the right under "Company 2007" which can't be made out even after taking a screenshot and magnifying.
So far, so boring. What's more interesting is if you search for Venista on Google. Seemingly the UK version of Regtel, ICSTIS, has fined Venista twice before for various breaches of their Code of Conduct. The full details can be found here and here. From my reading of it, they first got fined £5000 and then £15000.
I also decided to check and see what the payload of the spam might be. A quick search for vkap.net turned up this post on F-Secure's blog.This particular form of spam has been showing up on networks around Europe since December 2006. The URL in the message is tied to your phone, so going to it in a normal browser is no good, you will just get an error. However, if you go to it on the phone, you will seemingly get signed up to a premium ringtone provider. The first ringtone might be free, however it will be €2 a pop after.
All this begs the question, how are these people able to send a "Service Message". I'm no expert on the SMS protocol, but I would have presumed that the service provider, in this case Vodafone would be the only one able to send a Service Message. Are Vodafone in bed with Venista, or have Venista found some other loophole to exploit in order to send the message?
I will be contacting both Vodafone and RegTel again tomorrow, and hopefully I will get some more light shed on the situation :)
Update (Mar 1st):
Seemingly it will take another 24hours to get the information from Vodafone.
Update (Mar 2nd):
They still don't have recent enough records. They seem to have access to the same information as I have on my online Vodafone account, so I possibly should be able to get the number when it appears there.