Feeds

Orange SMS spam dragnet ensnares unwary

Mystery message blocking

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.