Feeds

Manchester biz raided in text message spam clampdown

Suspected ambulance-chasers 'sent thousands of txts'

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A clampdown on text spam has led to a police raid on offices in Urmston, Manchester, and the seizure of equipment by the Information Commissioner's Office.

The UK data privacy watchdog was given enhanced powers last year to tackle the growing problem of junk SMS messages, including the authority to ask mobile operators for information and numbers. The ICO was also allowed to obtain warrants to search premises.

The latest use of these powers targeted an unnamed firm touting an ambulance-chasing injury claims service. The watchdog, which is poring over evidence collected from the raided biz, said in a statement:

As part of the ICO’s ongoing investigations aimed at tackling the scourge of unwanted spam texts linked to the Claims Management Industry and the companies profiting from this unlawful activity, the ICO executed a search warrant on a premises situated in the Urmston area of Manchester on Tuesday 28 February.

The property was believed to be connected to individuals associated with a company that is suspected of sending out thousands of unsolicited electronic marketing messages.

We will take action where it is clear that individuals or companies are profiteering from unlawful activity. This includes issuing a monetary penalty of up to £500,000 to the worst offenders.

David Clancy, an investigation's manager at the ICO, explained the business model behind the mobile phone spam texts to the BBC.

"Once they [spammers] have trapped your number they will then sell it into the [claims] industry," he said. "First users will pay £1, £1.50 for that phone number. A month later it will be distributed to lots of organisations for 50p, 20p, 10p a time."

A previous raid last December led to the deactivation of 20,000 SIM cards. An ICO spokeswoman said the cards "had been used to send spam text messages".

Spam texts are usually sent using unregistered pay-as-you-go SIM cards. Under regulations introduced last year mobile operators are obliged to assist the ICO in pinpointing the locations from which clusters of junk messages have been sent. This cleared the way for the ICO to obtain a search warrant, authorising a raid by ICO investigators and local police.

The ICO advises punters to avoid responding to spam text messages. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
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.