Dallas, January 23, 2014 AdaptiveMobile, the world leader in mobile security, today announced a staggering 78.6% reduction of malicious SMS Spam in its customers’ North American SMS traffic over the course of 2013.  AdaptiveMobile has worked with leading carriers in the US market to implement the latest techniques in identifying, blocking and ultimately eradicating SMS Spam, saving millions of US and Canadian subscribers being preyed upon by the “Big Five” – the five dominant mobile spammers in North America in 2013.  

Head of Security Operations for AdaptiveMobile, Cathal McDaid, says, “The Big Five attacks in 2013 were specific, high-value targets that we hunted and reduced spam from, completely in some cases. There were other groups that were tracked and blocked during 2013 and onwards, but the Big Five launched much of the SMS spam that plagued North American subscribers over the course of 2013 and have been singled out for particular attention.”

Note: to protect the integrityof ongoing operations, specific message content has not been shared, but the Big Five are:

  1. Phishing/US-O/LION
  2. GiveawayScam/US-NE/LEOPARD
  3. Adult/US-W/PANTHER
  4. Marketing/US-SE/BUFFALO
  5. Phishing/US-SE/RHINO

During the course of the year, AdaptiveMobile blocked more than 100 million SMS spam attacks, reducing the spam rate to be less than 0.01% in its customers’ SMS traffic. Despite significant reductions, SMS Spam remains a challenge for carrier networks in North America and globally. Due to the defenses put in place in 2013, AdaptiveMobile intelligence shows that North America spammers are moving to send from less well protected email-to-SMS systems and from VoIP carriers, and spammers worldwide are using other messaging systems, evidenced by recent attacks such as SnapChat.

McDaid continues, “Mobile spam is not a random uncoordinated phenomenon, it is sent by known threat actors. These actors range from sophisticated multi-national criminal operations to small, local aggressive scammers. These are the groups that our analysts monitor, track, and ultimately work against. We call this activity ‘hunting,’ for obvious reasons. Internally, we give these groups code-names, as intelligence on these groups is key to anti-spam techniques against them, which can have a huge impact on the mobile spam ecosystem. Many of these hunts are still on-going, and frequently we have seen these targets shift strategy or terrain to hide from us.

McDaid concludes, “We have been working hard with our carrier customers and industry partners throughout the year to identify and stop malicious mobile spam activity. The year has been marked by continuous targeted ‘strikes’ and takedowns against the most dangerous and prevalent spam types in North America. Mobile spam sent from cell phones is now a fraction of what it was reported to be in the past. However mobile spam continues to be received by cell phone users from less protected sources, and the mobile spammers that remain active in North America are some of the most determined and persistent in the world.”

*For more detail on each of these attacks and detailed information on the North American threat landscape,  please visit Cathal McDaid’s blog at https://www.adaptivemobile.com/blog/big-spam-hunting.


Notes to Editors:

For more on the background on the spam reduction market and the calculation methodology used by AdaptiveMobile, see the blog post at https://www.adaptivemobile.com/blog/big-spam-hunting.

About AdaptiveMobile:
AdaptiveMobile is the world leader in mobile security, enabling trusted networks for the world’s largest operator groups and protecting over a billion subscribers globally. AdaptiveMobile provides Carriers with the most comprehensive network-based security solutions enabling them to protect their consumer and enterprise customers against the growing threat of mobile abuse. www.adaptivemobile.com

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