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SMS spam from Bart Simpson?

You can now run a denial of service attack on someone's phone system via spam and you don't need to be particularly smart about it.

According to Sophos, "in April, the switchboard of Dublin Zoo was swamped after at least 5,000 people were spammed an SMS text message to their mobile phones telling them to ring a number urgently and ask for a fictitious person.  The number was that of the main phone line to Dublin Zoo and the fake names all animal-related (Rory Lion, Anna Conda, C Lion or G Raffe according to the news reports).  Curiously, zoos in Houston and Brownsville, Texas suffered from similar attacks in May."

The texts will have the number they're sent from; but how hard is it acquire a SIM with fake ID - or indeed, just steal a phone and use the SIM from that?

But really: Rory Lion?!


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
15th Jul, 2008 13:37 (UTC)
The same happened to 10 Downing Street, around a couple of years ago, with people being asked to ask for Tony...
15th Jul, 2008 13:46 (UTC)
but that's absurd; who would ever think that Tony at Number 10 wanted to hear from real people ;-)
15th Jul, 2008 15:40 (UTC)
Rory (or Ruarigh) and Lyon are both common enough Irish names - I used to know a Una Lyon (from Cork city).
15th Jul, 2008 22:23 (UTC)
15th Jul, 2008 22:51 (UTC)
Hoax Text
And it's still going on. The Birmingham Zoo was targeted after Houston and Zoo Atlanta has been receiving calls related to hoax text messages for a month now. The latest twist is people getting voice mails thanks to programs that can convert text to voice synthesis. The message is always the same, with minor variations - "Hwy y is someone calln me and lookn for u n askn me where r u at n where u live heres tha # (and they fill in the main number of the Zoo they are targeting) tell them to stop calln me. There are two questions about all this nonsense - who is perpetrating this idiocy and why do people who receive text messages from someone they don't know are compelled to do what the messages ask?
17th Jul, 2008 15:38 (UTC)
Re: Hoax Text
and if it's spelled like that, how do they understand it!
16th Jul, 2008 11:19 (UTC)
It's not particularly difficult to fake the sending number in SMSes. But yeah, easier (and cheaper) to just get a chav-SIM.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


full steam ahead
Mary Branscombe
Simon & Mary

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