Mobile SMS spam surpasses email spam in Korea

According to the Korea Information Security Agency the number of unwanted SMS and phone calls to mobiles surpasses that of email spam.

The KISA said Tuesday mobile spam reported to the state-owned institute numbered 244,151 during the first 10 months of this year, in comparison to 78,063 of unsolicited e-mail messages during the same span.

“Junk mail sent to mobile phones has started to outnumber e-mail spam this year and the trend is expected to continue in the foreseeable future, a KISA official projected.

Mobile SMS spam surpasses email spam in Korea

The number of mobile spam reports stood at a paltry 4,864 cases in 2002, but the figure ballooned more than seven-fold a year later to 36,013.

By contrast, the conventional headache of bulk messages sent to computers was dominant in 2002 at 24,241 but its explosive growth rate was tamed last year at 42,123.

Up until now, e-mail spam has been recognized as a public enemy No.1 in the computer security world as it rocketed based on the nation’s state-of-the-art broadband network, which connects more than 11 million households to the always-on Internet.

The unwanted messages cost computer users precious time and efforts and usually carry sexual content, fanning concerns about the influence on youth.

In response to the disturbingly increasing e-mail spam, the nation’s broadband operators have gone all-out to counter the distrust under the stewardship of the government.

For instance, Hanaro Telecom, Korea’s second-biggest high-speed Internet carrier, recently terminated 130 spammers and such steps helped slow down the spam mail growth rate.

“In line with ubiquitous presence of handsets, mobile spam is also on the rise. We plan to come out with various policies designed to bring mobile spam under control, a Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) official said.

Mobile spam comes in two forms, dubbed short messaging service (SMS) and voice calls using an automatic response system (ARS).

In the case of mobile spam, it can be blocked through a single phone call. On handsets, people can apply for the service by dialing 114.

For the ARS calls, things are somewhat complicated as spammers are allowed to make such calls as long as they meet some requirements.

The Korea Times

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