ICO fine slashes PPI spam messages by half

ICO fine slashes PPI spam messages by half

The number of payment protection insurance (PPI) spam text messages being sent has significantly reduced since the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined two individuals last November, it has been revealed.

Data collected by Cloudmark, the organisation responsible for GSMA global spam monitoring, found that the proportion of PPI SMS messages made up 57 per cent of all spam messages in October 2012. In November, when the commissioner’s office issued the fine, the figure fell to 47 per cent. By February 2013, this figure fell to 23 per cent.

A fine of £440,000 was issued to Tetrus Telecoms, owned by Christopher Niebel and Gary McNeish, after an 18 month investigation into the company. Tetrus had been sending as many as 840,000 texts per day from pay-as-you-go SIMs.

[alert color=”blue”] Chris Barton, senior security research director for Cloudmark, said that PPI spam represented roughly half of all reported spam for 2012, but since the ICO took action, it is now accounting for only a quarter. [/alert]

Cloudmark used data collected from individuals who forwarded spam messages via the 7726 shortcode. The spam watchdog said that by targeting these two men, the number of spam messages in direct circulation had been reduced and that the ICO had sent a clear message to spammers, who seem to have reduced their campaigns to circumvent possible prosecution.

“There are a number of reasons why PPI spam has reduced since the Information Commissioner’s Office actions in November,” said Barton. “Initially, there is the direct impact on the sending party, but I suspect we’re also seeing their competition toning down campaigns to try to fly under the radar.”

Cloudmark said that US authorities had also made significant headway on preventing spam.

Despite the progress made by authorities, six million spam messages are still being sent to UK mobiles every day.

Published On: May 8, 2013/By /Categories: Security, Telecoms and Mobile Data/
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