According to a recent research conducted by CloudWork, a security research firm, 30 percent of all spam on mobile devices is being sent through iMessage. While iMessage provides users with a cheaper alternative to carrier-based texting, it’s increasingly being used for spamming too. Most of these spam messages are being sent by designer handbags and eyewear brands.
The security expert Tom Landesman, who conducted the said research, says that iMessage is being used by spammers for a variety of reasons. It has a huge user base due to its cross platform availability which provides spammers with a wide target range. In addition, the process of setting up an iMessage account is rather simple and requires only an email address, thus facilitating spammers in setting up spam accounts.
Since the messenger is available on Mac, spammers are able to send spam messages to multiple devices using a single Mac OS Script. The “read receipts” feature in iMessage allows spammers to generate a list of verified accounts which they can also sell to other spammers. Users can avoid receiving spam messages by turning off alerts from users not in their contact list. This obviously comes with the price of missing alerts from people you know, but are not in your contact list yet.
Apple has tried to tackle this problem by restricting number of texts that can be sent and also providing users an option for reporting spam accounts. The process of reporting a spam account is rather tedious as it involves sending a snapshot of spam message along with spammer account details. Apple team’s response to spam reports is also rather slow, as Wired claims to have reported a spam account which was not closed even after a week.
Apple needs to take some serious steps to overcome this problem and save iMessage from becoming a spammer’s paradise.