Step 1: Example of a Spam Threat (Aslak)


"SPAM: The use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages, especially advertising, indiscriminately."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20528301
"Spam text message pair are fined £440,000 "

Who?
Christopher Niebel and Gary McNeish were the ones who sent out the bulk messages to the people of UK
What?
They sent out promotions/advertisements in form of spam-messages to random mobile-phones.
Where?
In Greater Manchester, UK

Step 2: IT Background

"How dos it work?"

The way they used to send out the spam messages is.
1: Niebel and McNeishmade a computer-based software, that could read sim-card details, and then send out messages as the number on the simcard.
2: Then thy bought several sim-cards (+70 simcards) and connected them one by one to the computer
3: When they were connected, the computer is sending out text messages, to numbers on a list bought on the black-market, until the sim-card reaches its daily message-limit
4: then they swapped the sim-card with a new one, and ether way continued down the list, or did the whole list again from top.



Step 3:

"impact"

The main stakeholders in this is:
  • The people sending out the spam
    • They will occasionally receive text messages that they don't want, which is filling up their phone-memory
  • people receiving the spam
    • They are the one who is behind the spam, and thus will be the one who'll have to pay the fine
  • the people/companies paying for spam to be sent out
    • They are the ones who have been financing the spam messages, they have payed so Niebel and McNeish could send out spam/advertisements for their companies

Short term consequences:
- anger (receiving messages you don't want)
- The phone memory is being used

Long term consequences:
- mostly the same as the short-term consequences, but to an greater extent

Overall:
The threat by it self is not that big of a deal, it's mostly just annoying, but if they found a way to bring codes, that may cause harm to the phone, into the spam, this could lead to loss of personal information etc.



Step 4: Possible Solutions


Technical:
Given that you own a smartphone; you could install a filtering app, that blocks all unwanted text messages, and thus will reduce the amount of spam.

Non-technical:
What you could do, is to either way is to get a sim-card from outside the country, or easier, turn off the phone, in this way you wouldn't receive any of the spam messages

Evaluation:
Since turning off the phone basically goes away from the main reason why you got the phone in the first place, to be accessible all the time, this is not the best solution. So what would be the most applicable solution for spam messages, would be to install I filtering app, which filtering out and blocks the unwanted messages.