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Tuesday, 19 August 2014 12:21

Apple gets clogged by spammers

Written by Nick Farrell

Walled garden, yeah right

One of the joys of having a walled garden of control from a proprietary outfit like Apple is that you are not supposed to see anything that Apple or you don’t want. However it appears that Apple’s iMessage system is wide open for spammers and is proving a doddle for luxury goods spammers to peddle their junk.

For a while people used to say that they never saw any spam on iMessage, said Tom Landesman who works for anti-spam company Cloudmark. One particularly aggressive campaign comes from a junk mailer and accounts for more than 30 percent of all mobile spam messages. Mostly it is those trying to peddle knock-off Ray-Ban and Oakley sunglasses.

Landesman said that once the spammer was inside Apple’s iMessage system with four lines of code, using Apple scripts, they could tell your Mac machine to send message to whomever they want. The spammer will need a phone number to deliver the iMessage spam, but if you’ve added your email address to iMessage, the spammers can use that.

Because the spam is all traveling on Apple’s network it makes it a Jobs’ Mob problem, however it is not making any comment. It should have done something by now. It was aware of the problem a year ago when hackers devised ways of spamming their victims with rapid-fire iMessage attacks that overwhelmed the iMessage app.

Apple’s response is to rate-limit the iMessage network, and have a nearly impossible way to report iMessage spammers and get them banned from Apple’s network. Apple insists that you send them a screenshot of the spam, the phone number or email address of the spammer, and the date and time it was sent and what the spammer had for breakfast. Clearly that is not working.

Nick Farrell

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