Feeds

Orange SMS spam dragnet ensnares unwary

Mystery message blocking

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Orange is blocking text messages sent through a UK premium service, citing "security issues". But the British SMS provider appears to have fallen foul of Orange's new allegedly anti-spam policy of charging foreign networks for sending bulk messages.

Register readers using a premium SMS service provided by Deltica.com have been charged for messages that were never received because it resells Swisscom SMS capacity, which offered the cheapest service in Europe, and is one of the blocked providers.

Orange told aggrieved Deltica.com punters that was "deleting text messages that are sent from certain companies and countries" because of "security issues", and that it has notified the affect companies.

It referred customers back to Deltica.com, but the firm isn't responding to queries from us, nor its customers. We've been contacted by two Deltica.com users on the issue who decided to use the service because they found the (free, up to a point) process of sending messages through Orange's Web site "slow and long winded".

Neither customer is a SMS spammer (bills sent to us suggest) and Orange's stance seems to be driven primarily by commercial considerations.

Simon Rockman, publisher of What Mobile, explained: "I don't think they are so much blocking spam, more blocking interconnect when they don't get a revenue share (which often amounts to the same thing as spammers don't like to pay). But if a spammer was prepared to pay I'm sure Orange would carry it. Indeed Orange business services has a tariff for such things."

The Orange policy of blocking SMS messages from certain foreign networks was introduced in December but not publicly announced at the time. We understand that MTN network in South Africa, the Swisscom network in Switzerland, and the Telstra and Vodafone networks in Australia are among those targeted, along with SMS messages sent via ICQ. Most overseas providers aren't affected.

After repeated calls, Orange at last provided us with a "re-active statement" on the issue.

"Orange has decided to take this step to protect its own customers from 'spamming' through overseas carriers. This will also enable Orange to better
manage its network traffic, and ensure it gains revenue for the service it provides by carrying these messages," it said.

"We intend to reach a standard agreement for this service as formulated by the GSM Association. Commercial terms will be agreed bilaterally."

Orange's policy is reasonable enough but is has been less than open about its implementation. This has been conducted in a manner which, our enquiries suggest, is pulling ethical users into an 'anti-spam Dragnet'. ®

Related stories

Orange users angry at spam voicemail
Orange kills Locust
Freeserve deal lets SMS Genie out of the bottle
Europe holds key vote on spam tomorrow
Admen prepare to blitz cellphones
AOL makes arms-length messaging concession

External links

Usenet discussions on the subject: here and
here

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.