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2/27/2007
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VZW Wins Against SMS Spammers

Firm ordered to pay $200,000 damages for sending SMS spam to mobiles, Sophos comments

BOSTON -- Experts at IT security and control firm Sophos are warning of the rising nuisance of spam sent to mobile phones, as U.S. network operator Verizon Wireless wins an injunction against a company that sent almost 100,000 SMS spam messages to its customers.

Verizon Wireless filed a suit against Specialized Programming and Marketing and its owner, Charles Henderson, who sent the spam messages offering a prize cruise in the Bahamas on behalf of Passport Holidays. In sending the unsolicited text messages to mobile phones, Henderson and his company violated the U.S. Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act and are required to pay damages in excess of $200,000.

Passport Holidays was required to pay $10,000 in damages to Verizon Wireless in a separate judgment last year.

"While SMS text spam is a minute problem compared to other forms of malware such as email or web-based spam, it presents a complicated problem that could prove costly to users and providers alike," said Ron O’Brien, senior security analyst at Boston-based Sophos. "Spammers moving into the mobile phone space is a very real possibility. Users should report all SMS spam to their network providers as soon at it’s received to diminish this form of threat before it spreads."

Sophos plc

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