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Case Study: Messaging Trust Defeats Spam 'Army Attacks'

Messaging Trust Defeats Spam ‘Army Attacks’

One of the largest mobile service providers in the United States faced a growing number of spam "army attacks" across its text messaging network. These sophisticated attacks use a disciplined system of “soldier” and “commander” nodes that coordinate massive spam distribution without directly communicating with each other, thereby largely avoiding detection. As a result of these attacks, the provider’s end users were becoming victims of financial fraud while the provider was suffering increased bandwidth strain and heightened customer dissatisfaction. However, in combating this spam, the provider faced the challenge that since a majority of messaging traffic is legitimate, a highly accurate content analysis and filtering system would be required to remove spam but at the same time ensure reliable delivery of legitimate messages.

Syniverse deployed its comprehensive anti-spam solution, Messaging Trust, to identify the spam army attacks, gain detailed insight into the attacks, and take proactive steps to defend against them. Specifically, the provider applied Messaging Trust to take these actions: set up a phone number rating process that generates new SMS spam signatures/fingerprints; categorize spammers according to campaigns, originating countries, behavior and other filters; develop models of subscriber usage patterns; and use a combination of filters to identify suspicious elements in messages. In particular, Messaging Trust provided two capabilities that were crucial in helping the provider block the spam army attacks. For one, Messaging Trust’s highly accurate content analysis and filtering only identifies a message as harmful, and subsequently blocks it, after processing a large repository of analytic data and real user reporting, which ensured that the highest level of legitimate and potentially revenue-generating traffic is delivered. Second, Messaging Trust could be deployed quickly without network interruption, additional hardware or extra operational costs for the provider.

“With spam messaging rising rapidly in volume, it’s critical for mobile service providers to counter this with technologies that protect against fraud, maintain network integrity and ensure end-user satisfaction. To this end, Messaging Trust has provided us with a powerful tool to combat spam army attacks. Messaging Trust has helped us identify more than 2 million spam messages coming into our network each month, including over 40,000 different kinds of spam messages."

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