Industry News

SMS Summer Spam Tempts Users with Fake Cruises and Diet Offers

SMS summer spam peaked before the end of June, when more than 20 percent of all phone spam messages lured users with free cruises and diet tips, according to Cloudmark.

The company’s latest threat report shows that cruise baits replaced “free iPhone” spam, particularly after the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on gift card criminals this spring. One popular set of texts tempted people with free vacations to the Caribbean.

SMS Summer Spam Tempts Users with Fake Cruises and Diet Offers“When the FTC took action against gift card spammers, we saw a downturn in that,” Cloudmark Threat Researcher Andrew Conway told CSO Online. “However, it came back as cruise spam. We will see periodic downturns after a particular form of monetization gets stopped.”

Though free vouchers and giveaway scams are still popular, phishing for bank accounts and adult content outclass them in spam volume. Bank phishing, the most malicious category of SMS spam, tops the chart, with a 22 percent share of the volume. Diet-themed SMS spam tripled in the second quarter of the year, as volumes reached 12 percent of all spam.

“With a plethora of hacked sites at their disposal, spammers are able to keep their URLs fresh,” the report said. “Using these fresh URLs also helps keep spam message bodies fresh to avoid blocking and filtering.”

According to Cloudmark, nearly 60 percent of these compromised domains remained that way for at least a month, allowing scammers to manipulate them as they saw fit.

Bitdefender also warned about spam and malware campaigns using the holiday hook spreading via traditional e-mail. In the summer, holiday spam can account for as much as 6 percent of all spam.

“And if a regular ‘business spam day’ means some 1.8 million messages, at the season peak we are talking about approximately 108,000 holiday-themed pieces a day of which bogus flight confirmations are most spread,” HotForSecurity’s Loredana Botezatu explains.

The most targeted airlines companies this summer are Delta Air Lines, US Airways and the German Condor Flugdienst.

About the author


Bianca Stanescu, the fiercest warrior princess in the Bitdefender news palace, is a down-to-earth journalist, who's always on to a cybertrendy story. She's the industry news guru, who'll always keep a close eye on the AV movers and shakers and report their deeds from a fresh new perspective. Proud mother of one, she covers parental control topics, with a view to valiantly cutting a safe path for children through the Internet thicket. She likes to let words and facts speak for themselves.