China swamped by mobile phone spam

Filed Under: Mobile, Spam

Mobile phone receiving an SMS spam message

If you have a mobile phone you may have from time-to-time been irritated by an unsolicited SMS text message offering you a free ringtone, or some other nonsense. I receive probably a couple of these every year. Not a big problem - I just press 'delete'.

But in China, it seems, it's a different story.

According to statistics from the Internet Society of China (ISC), an astonishing 353.8 billion spam text messages are sent each year. This is apparently a rise of 92.7% year on year.

So, what does that mean for the typical Chinese cellphone user? Well, there are approximately 574 million mobile phone owners in China - so that works out as (clunk.. whirr..) over 600 spam messages every year. Ouch!

That's why the ISC has formed an allliance of more than 30 companies, agreeing to follow best practice and to stomp out spam text messages. And not before time. In June, the ISC received a mind-boggling 438,668 complaints about spams sent to mobile phones. Under the new guidelines, message senders are obliged to get the recipient's consent before sending commercial messages in future.

Will this impact on the torrent of SMS spam in the country? Only time will tell.

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About the author

Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, and veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.