SOURCE: Cloudmark, Inc.

February 13, 2007 02:00 ET

Cloudmark Counters Rapid Rise in Mobile Messaging Threats

Cloudmark Authority™ for Mobile Operators Stops Spam, Phishing and Virus Attacks on Mobile Devices

BARCELONA, SPAIN -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 13, 2007 -- Cloudmark, Inc., the leading provider of carrier-grade messaging anti-abuse solutions, is introducing Cloudmark Authority for Mobile Operators, an end-to-end messaging security platform designed to block all categories of mobile threats. Cloudmark predicts mobile messaging threats will escalate in the next 12-24 months as more consumers receive their personal emails on mobile devices. In North America alone, the number of mobile email users will jump more than 300% from 2006 to 2009 based on Gartner Group estimates, driving traffic on wireless networks up significantly.

The percentage of email determined to be spam, phishing or virus attacks reached 95% in 2006 according to statistics compiled from Cloudmark's Global Threat Network. This same high rate of abuse will extend to mobile devices that access personal or corporate emails. As a result, mobile operators offering email services will experience large volumes of unwanted and potentially damaging traffic entering their network, costing millions of dollars in network upgrades, operations, and customer support. The issue of mobile messaging abuse has been recognized by the GSM Association which brought together leading mobile operators to adopt a code of procedures for stopping mobile spam.

In addition to consuming valuable bandwidth, mobile threats can potentially damage device software, invade consumer privacy, breach corporate security and hinder the success of mobile commerce. According to a recent report by the TowerGroup, more than 200 mobile virus attacks have already been identified, with that number expected to double every six months. In addition, mobile banking and payment services will be increasingly targeted by phishers engaged in fraud and identity theft.

"Mobile messaging abuse impacts the entire value chain -- service providers, device manufacturers, m-commerce players, IT departments, and end users," says David Ferris, founder of Ferris Research. "Malware authors are clearly aiming to broaden their reach onto pocket-sized devices. The risk of mobile threats will rise significantly this year. Increasingly powerful devices are allowing malware authors to achieve these aims, jeopardizing consumer privacy and corporate security. Mobile operators would be well advised to address this issue -- those that don't risk customer churn."

Cloudmark Authority for Mobile Operators

Cloudmark Authority for Mobile protects mobile networks and subscribers from spam, phishing and virus attacks originating from traditional Internet email as well as attacks from other mobile devices. Cloudmark Authority already protects nearly 20 million mobile SMS/text message users from attacks originating from the Internet. Cloudmark's Authority for Mobile extends industry-leading accuracy and performance to counter all categories of mobile messaging threats:

Email to Mobile Email: Mobile access to corporate and personal email is estimated to grow to 350 million users worldwide by 2010, driven by declining prices of email-capable devices and "all-you-can-eat" service plans. As more users begin to access their personal emails from devices such as the Blackberry, Treo, Motorola Q and other smartphones or high-end phones, they will experience the same high levels of spam, phishing and viruses seen on computers. Based on current mobile email pricing service plans, Cloudmark estimates the typical user will pay $5 per month in overage charges as a result of receiving and downloading unwanted mobile messages.

In addition, the security risk for businesses increases as mobile devices provide hackers and phishers with a new, often unsecured channel for infiltrating corporate systems. Mobile devices are now used to store and access CRM, ERP, and other applications so mobile messaging attacks have the potential to compromise highly confidential corporate data.

Email to SMS/Text Message: Text messaging via Web interfaces represents another avenue for spammers. Messaging abuse can be sent via email to mobile phone numbers using a forwarding address such as 6505551234@serviceprovidername.com. These email-originated text messaging attacks currently take the form of spam advertising, stock scams, false recharge notices or messages to call premium rate numbers and are expected to grow 38% in 2007 according to Ferris Research.

SMS/Text Message to SMS/Text Message: Mobile to mobile attacks have been limited to date in the U.S. and Europe due to the high cost of message delivery. As unlimited rate plans and other channels of attack become available, such as "zombied" phones, mobile-originated spam and phishing attacks are expected to escalate in 2007.

How Cloudmark Authority for Mobile Works

Cloudmark Authority can be implemented by mobile operators at the email to mobile gateway, SMSC (Short Message Service Center), or MMSC (Multimedia Messaging Service Center) to provide complete protection against threats generated via email and mobile devices. Cloudmark's open architecture design allows third parties mobile solution vendors, such as Anam, to block SMS threats received from both on-network and off-network sources. Cloudmark Authority for Mobile also provides the framework for several methods of false negative and false positive user feedback. The Cloudmark threat classification system is language-, format-, and network protocol-agnostic, so all types of mobile spam are identified and blocked before they are transmitted to the subscriber. While it is difficult for traditional heuristics-based solutions to differentiate spam from legitimate text messages given the very short length of the messages, Cloudmark's global threat detection network and intelligent message fingerprinting enable accurate detection of messaging threats.

"The convergence of email and mobile communications is a powerful revenue growth area for mobile operators. Yet mobile operators -- and their subscribers -- face considerable financial risk along with risk to their reputation if they are not prepared to handle messaging abuse in the mobile medium," says Vipul Prakash, founder and chief scientist of Cloudmark. "Mobile messaging abuse threatens subscriber loyalty, hinders the success of true mobile marketing and can significantly drive up network costs for the operator. Cloudmark Authority for Mobile Operators is the only solution to address all categories of threats originating from both Internet and mobile sources."

About Cloudmark

Cloudmark, Inc. delivers the industry's fastest and most accurate anti-spam, anti-phishing, and anti-virus solutions. Founded in 2001 by pioneers in messaging anti-abuse, Cloudmark architected an innovative approach combining intelligent message fingerprinting with the world's largest real-time threat detection network. Cloudmark solutions protect more than 180 million mailboxes and 60+ ISP networks worldwide with customers and partners including NTT Communications, Time Warner, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Vodafone, and Sun. A privately held, San Francisco-based company, Cloudmark's comprehensive portfolio addresses the unique needs of Service Provider, enterprise and desktop users. For more information about Cloudmark, visit http://www.cloudmark.com.

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