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UK: Spam Texters Fined 440,000

     
6:36 pm on Nov 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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At last, some action in the UK over these pesky spammers.

Two men who sent millions of spam text messages have been fined 440,000 as the authorities step up the fight against the trade.

Christopher Niebel and Gary McNeish were part of a growing industry that sends texts to promote compensation claims for personal injury or payment protection mis-selling.

UK: Spam Texters Fined 440,000 [bbc.co.uk]
7:44 am on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Forums that use pound signs need to specify the encoding!
8:31 am on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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There was a quite long thread somewhere hereabouts on that very subject. Pound signs, databases and encodings ;)

"They have been fined 440,000 in one-byte currency of your choice."
2:20 pm on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I am not entirely sure if its me of WW, or both. FF autodetect seems to work on the page itself, but not on the post message page!

On the other hand I cannot see the encoding in the response headers or the page source.
3:07 pm on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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PPI and injury claims text messages are getting beyond a joke. On average I seem to get about 3 a day. Maybee this will act as a warning!

Mack.
5:05 pm on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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There isn't a content encoding in the HTTP headers or <head>... so I'd assume that's what will cause issues for non en-GB (?) users. Why couldn't everything just be ASCII :) I noticed the same encoding issue in some BBC Iplayer subtitles today...

My UK phone died several months ago but thankfully the TTL of messages is about a week. At least with e-mail your spam messages can be stored until deletion at your leisure. Much cheaper for the sender too.

It makes me think the conversion rate couldn't have been too bad for these guys.
6:17 pm on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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All browsers have a default encoding. Some also have an auto-detect. The first non-ASCII character on the present page was one that can't be interpreted in UTF-8 but will work in Latin-1, so that's what I saw, overriding the browser default. Graeme presumably saw the UTF-8 "I can't display this character" question mark inside a black diamond.

Some exceedingly old browsers can't read the charset declaration even if it's present. But that takes you back a very long way indeed. (MSIE 5, say ;))
6:53 am on Dec 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

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There are apps for that.

You can whitelist your contact list and totally eliminate any spam whatsoever, whether it's text messages or email.

I also had to also block nuisance telemarketers from calling my cell phone.

Since the phone companies charge for these services. unless you have unlimited plans, they have no real motivation to help block them because it runs up revenues and if you have an unlimited plan they can just brush it off as it costs you nothing extra to be annoyed.

Recently overheard when wife put spammer on speaker phone and asked him to prove he was from Microsoft Security, in a thick Indian accent, "Go away lady!"
7:13 am on Dec 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

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FYI, hackers are doing a lot of SMS spam which I found out the hard way last year when one of my email servers got compromised and was being used to send about 600K spams when I caught it. The messages are much smaller so they can send a ton and they don't even have to relay it as a prefix spammer script can be installed. Think war dialing technology. This masks the actual source of the spam as the script on your server is just cranking out spams to sequential phone #s.

The only upside is it wasn't sending spam to real email addresses and it didn't get caught by any of the spam trackers out there and didn't show up on any RDNSBL services I checked (100+), therefore the IP address wasn't compromised when I got the problem resolved.

The downside is it's obvious these big phone companies aren't sharing this spam data, if they even spotted it in the first place, and servers compromised for SMS spamming may go undetected by the rest of the community, or even the server's owner. I wouldn't have noticed myself except the load of 600K spams in the outbound queue caused an unusual CPU load on the dual quad-cores in that box so I knew something was wrong. Had they throttled their delivery to something lower it could've gone undetected for days, if ever.

Thank goodness they're greedy!
 

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