Mobile Spam Is Here

| 14 Comments | 3 TrackBacks

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

Free Ringtone!

http://w03.vkap.net/app/......


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.

3 TrackBacks

from Not Another One!! - Reporting Mobile Service Message Spam on March 5, 2007 3:39 PM

TITLE: URL: http://blog.moybella.net/2007/03/05/reporting-mobile-service-message-spam/ IP: 81.17.240.212 BLOG NAME: Not Another One!! - Reporting Mobile Service Message Spam DATE: 03/05/2007 03:39:32 PM Read More

from Getting spam texts - Irish SEO, Marketing & Webmaster Discussion on March 22, 2007 11:44 PM

TITLE: URL: http://www.irishwebmasterforum.com/general-chat/1385-getting-spam-texts.html#post11867 IP: 81.17.240.200 BLOG NAME: Getting spam texts - Irish SEO, Marketing & Webmaster Discussion DATE: 03/22/2007 11:44:06 PM Read More

from Data Protection Followup on May 3, 2007 3:09 PM

TITLE: URL: http://blog.moybella.net/2007/05/03/data-protection-followup/ IP: 81.17.240.212 BLOG NAME: Data Protection Followup DATE: 05/03/2007 03:09:05 PM Read More

14 Comments

Yip - got that too. Interestingly, when you try to find the message afterwards in the message log, it cannot be found...

Kevin,

Did you contact Vodafone or Regtel about it? The more people that make a fuss, the more likely it is that this particular form of spam will be killed at birth.

Niall.

Got it also... In the Netherlands, and in Dutch. My provider is T-mobile NL, I'll send them a mail also. Nice blog!

According to F-Secure, the spam is localized to the country that it's send to.

While you're at it, you might as well also get onto your version of Regtel ;)

I got one of these today too.... I'm on vodafone .... I've contacted both vodafone and regtel with similar details to the above....

Paddy,

Were you able to get the 5 digit number that RegTel require?

Hi,
Just got the text today... so had just emailed both with the details of the text.

Got this back from RegTel pretty promptly "Unfortunately, we are not in a position to assist you without
determining the short code number from which the messages are coming
from. A short code is a five digit number beginning with the digit "5".
This number identifies the sender of the message. If this number does
not appear within the content of the text message, you will need to
telephone your mobile phone operator (i.e. Meteor, O2 or Vodafone) for
their assistance. On receipt of this information, please forward the
details to me along your mobile telephone number.

We will endeavour to assist you further at that stage. I look forward
to hearing from you.
"

So sent another email to vodafone .... will wait and see....

Paddy,

That's the number I'm waiting to get off Vodafone as well. When I get it I'll post it here.

To be honest, I wondering if there is a number. The message isn't a normal SMS message, it's a "Service Message".

We shall see.

This was on prime time a couple of weeks back. As it was happening a lot of kids, and their credit was being eaten away as they thought it was free. The usual organisations were contacted. And as usual it still was not sorted out

Got this message today, dont know how they even got my number. Ive just had a look at the url that came with the message there seems to be a 6 digit number at the end "jid=-554869" maybe this is the number they are looking for?? Havnt been on to vodafone yet but will check back here for updates

i just got this message too, what does it mean???? i feel like my provacy has been invaded! How do you stop it? my server is MTN, not Vodafone whats the connection?

Jason: The message didn't appear on my online billing so I will be getting onto Vodafone again.

Fundi: My current theory is that the people sending the message are using it to try and get around regulations with sending SMS messages.

I got a reply back from vodafone stating "I have checked your mobile number on our system and I cannot see a
short code in your call details."

So not sure where we go from here?

Paddy,

Have a look at my latest post.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Niall Donegan published on February 28, 2007 6:56 PM.

Server Upgrade was the previous entry in this blog.

Near Realtime Nasa Satellite Pictures is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Pages

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Creative Commons License
This blog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by Movable Type 5.02