Feeds

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

Thousands of devices, hundreds of millions of unwanted texts

Website security in corporate America

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. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Blood-crazed Microsoft axes Trustworthy Computing Group
Security be not a dirty word, me Satya. But crevice, bigod...
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.