SMS spoofing

What is SMS spoofing???

SMS spoofing is a relatively new technology which uses the short message service (SMS), available on most mobile phones and personal digital assistants, to set who the message appears to come from by replacing the originating mobile number (Sender ID) with alphanumeric text. Spoofing has both legitimate uses (setting the company name from which the message is being sent, setting your own mobile number, or a product name) and illegitimate uses (such as impersonating another person, company, product).

How SMS spoofing is carried out?

SMS Spoofing occurs when a fraudster manipulates address information in order to impersonate a user that has roamed onto a foreign network and is submitting messages to the home network. Frequently, these messages are addressed to destinations outside the home network – with the home SMSC essentially being “hijacked” to send messages into other networks.

The impact of this fraud is threefold:

1. The home network can incur termination charges caused by the delivery of these messages to interconnect partners. This is a quantifiable revenue leakage.

2. These messages can be of concern to interconnect partners. Their customers may complain about being spammed, or the content of the messages may be politically sensitive. Interconnect partners may threaten to cut off the home network unless a remedy is implemented. Home subscribers will be unable to send messages into these networks.

3. While fraudsters normally used spoofed-identities to send messages, there is a risk that these identities may match those of real home subscribers. The risk therefore emerges, that genuine subscribers may be billed for roaming messages they did not send. If this situation occurs, the integrity of the home operator’s billing process may be compromised, with potentially huge impact on the brand. This is a major churn risk.

An SMS Spoofing attack is often first detected by an increase in the number of SMS errors encountered during a bill-run.


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