GSMA to address spam and fraudulent messaging threats for consumers

The GSMA has announced that it is piloting a solution to address mobile messaging misuse caused by spam, which is a growing issue for consumers and mobile operators.

The GSMA Spam Reporting Service will provide a worldwide clearinghouse of messaging threats and misuse which have been reported by mobile users. The GSMA Spam Reporting Service is in trials with leading operators including AT&T Mobility, Korea Telecom and SFR.

The GSMA Spam Reporting Service, which is operated on behalf of the GSMA by Cloudmark, will analyse SMS traffic and identify and aggregate reports of misuse submitted by mobile subscribers of participating networks via a short code.

The short code ‘7726’, which spells ‘SPAM’ on most phones, will be used where local national numbering plans permit, in conjunction with an additional code ‘33700’, a universally recognised simple code, to encourage consumers to report instances of SMS spam.

With this reporting mechanism, consumers will be able to direct alleged spam to a responsive feedback system, which will acknowledge the report and inform their service providers so that appropriate action can be taken. This action can include investigations, warnings and blocking of senders who have been repeatedly reported by end users as sending unsolicited or fraudulent messages.

“The issue of mobile messaging misuse is a global, inter-operator problem and the GSMA Spam Reporting Service, along with other spam mitigation solutions such as spam filtering, is an important component of a comprehensive spam mitigation strategy for the industry,” said Alex Sinclair, chief strategy and technology officer, GSMA. “We have learnt from the online experience where spam is prolific and this service will enable mobile operators, mobile users and legitimate mobile marketers to take action as we work together to help users and their service providers to tackle mobile spam.”

Each mobile operator participating in the pilot will receive correlated reports with data on threats and misuse originated both within and outside of their network; these reports will include data on misuse patterns, volumes and top originators of spam, regionally and worldwide. The GSMA Spam Reporting Service is designed to help protect the entire mobile ecosystem against sophisticated and evolving messaging threats and misuse that could negatively impact the user experience, as well as available network resources.

“The threat of mobile spam and similar abuses is a global concern that deserves the collaboration of the industry in developing solutions,” said Scott McElroy, vice president, mobility engineering and development, AT&T. “This initiative is a positive step and we thank GSMA for spearheading the program.”

The pilot service will be operated on behalf of the GSMA by Cloudmark, a global leader in carrier-grade messaging security. Cloudmark’s suite of carrier-grade security solutions provide the essential functions to simplify and advance the management of messaging abuse, increasing network utilisation and reducing infrastructure costs.