NEWS FROM THE LAB - Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Premium Rate SMS Spam Spotted in Finland Posted by Jarno @ 11:27 GMT

One of our Helsinki based researchers received the following SMS message yesterday:


The message text is in Finnish and translates as "Video message, click". If the recipient clicks on the link he'll end up opening a page that looks like an advert for a service called "Mobile Tube". So, at first glance, this just looks like ordinary SMS spam.

However, if the recipient reads the fine print at the bottom of the page, things get interesting.

The fine print is in Finnish and states that the user has accepted a premium rate service, and if he wishes, he can cancel the contract.

We have seen this type of scam before and have reports of many other languages besides Finnish being used. The scam works if the user has a WAP access point enabled, as is per default with most operators. The scammers will get the necessary information for billing just by having the user click a link and visiting the web page.

So whenever you see unexpected links via SMS, just delete the message and do not click them. If you clicked on a link, check if the page has an unsubscribe link. If it does, unsubscribe from the service and then file a complaint to your phone operator if you are billed by the premium service vendor.

Updated to add: The fine print on Mobile Tube page has been changed to indicate that now service does not have cost to user follow-up article