Feeds

Chinese cops cuff 1,500 in fake base station spam raid

Thousands of devices, hundreds of millions of unwanted texts

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

China’s police have arrested over 1,500 people on suspicion of using fake base stations to send out mobile SMS spam.

The current crackdown, began in February, according to Reuters. Citing a Ministry of Public Security missive, the newswire says a group operating in north-east Liaoning province, bordering North Korea, is suspected of pinging out more than 200 million spam texts.

China's fearsome law enforcers periodically embark on crackdowns of this kind which, given the sheer size and scale of the Middle Kingdom, often amount to little more than a symbolic gesture.

However, mobile spam is a massive problem in China.

Some 200 billion unwanted messages were sent in the country in the first half of 2013 alone, according to a Xinhua report from late last year

Fake base stations are becoming a particularly popular modus operandi. Often concealed in a van or car, they are driven through city streets to spread their messages.

This Beijing News story from November 2013 tells a typical tale.

The professional spammer in question charged 1,000 yuan (£100) to spam thousands of users in a radius of a few hundred metres.

The pseudo-base station used could send out around 6,000 messages in just half an hour, the report said. Often such spammers are hired by local businessmen to promote their wares.

Trend Micro highlighted the problem in a recent expose of the Mobile Cybercriminal Underground Market in China.

GSM modems, internet short message gateways and “SMS servers” were all listed as available on the dark web for local cyber criminals to buy.

The latter is effectively a “fake base station”, in that it apparently sends out a high power signal which forces all mobiles in the area to disconnect from their legitimate base station and connect to it.

SMS servers cost around 45,000 yuan (£4,400), according to the report. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.