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Two Thirds of British Texters Have Received Spam, But Most Are Unsure of How to Take Appropriate Action

Cloudmark, Inc., the global leader in messaging threat protection for mobile, fixed and social networks, today released a national survey on mobile users’ interaction with and awareness of text message spam in the UK. The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Cloudmark among 1,164 UK adults aged 16+, found that 64% of UK mobile text message users aged 16 and older have received spam texts in the past year, but most are still unsure of how to take appropriate action.

The survey found 63% of British texters would ignore an unsolicited text message, as few as 10% would actually take the correct action by reporting spam to their carrier, and more worryingly 31% would text “STOP.” This response only works with text alerts that the recipient has legitimately signed up to, and has the reverse effect for spam texts – merely confirming that the number is live and encouraging the spammer to continue to target that phone.

Mobile users are strongly encouraged to forward spam texts to their carrier via “7726” spelling out "SPAM" on the keypad (or 87726 for Vodafone customers and 37726 for customers of Three UK). UK carriers collate spam reports from their customers, including operators that subscribe to the GSMA’s Spam Reporting Service powered by Cloudmark. Suspicious texts submitted to this service help Cloudmark tackle spam on behalf of participating carriers, who receive comprehensive reports with detailed information on spam content, senders and reporters, which enables them to block numbers and help to reduce further spam.

Cloudmark Chief Technology Officer Neil Cook said: “This survey has revealed a remarkable lack of awareness in the UK about the threat of mobile spam. It is a vicious circle that needs to be broken as the spammers that run these campaigns are making a living from duping UK mobile texters and selling data to fellow spammers. More often than not, the snippets of personal data a mobile texter offers in the hope to ‘win’ or ‘claim’ a prize is being used by very targeted third-parties to send even more spam. These findings must act as a rallying cry to raise awareness of the 7726 Spam Reporting Service and public participation is key to its success and effectiveness.

Neil continued: “Since the Spam Reporting Service launched in the UK in February 2011, Cloudmark have seen at least a tenfold increase in spam reports to the service in the UK. There is, however, clearly work to be done as the greater the volume of reports submitted to 7726, the greater impact it can have in preventing spammers from targeting UK consumers and attempting to extort money from them.”

Notes to Editors

To view an infographic that highlights key findings from the UK survey, please visit: http://www.cloudmark.com/releases/docs/mobile_spam_UK_ver_3.jpg.

Survey Methodology

This study was conducted online within Great Britain by Harris Interactive on behalf of Cloudmark from September 25 – October 1, 2012 among 1,164 adults aged 16-64 (among whom 1,046 use a mobile phone to send/receive text messages) via its Global Omnibus product. Figures for age, sex, region, and internet usage were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. This data was weighted to reflect the composition of the general adult population.

For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Deepika Bharadwa of MSL London at [email protected].

About Cloudmark

Cloudmark protects 2 billion global subscribers daily from an explosion in messaging abuses across more operator networks than anyone else. Only Cloudmark defends the world’s largest Mobile, Fixed and Social Networks, including AT&T, Comcast, MySpace, NTT, Swisscom and Time Warner Cable, with scalable and accurate protection against the widest range of existing and emerging messaging threats.

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