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Research Finds Spam is on the Mobile Menu

David Murphy

Research from messaging security company Cloudmark shows that 66% of UK mobile phone users have been victims of spam, with the number of 18 to 24 year olds targeted as high as 75% - the highest percentage of any age category. Cloudmark commissioned YouGov to carry out a survey into the current state of mobile spam in the UK earlier this year. The research was carried out online between 11 and 13 March among 2,150 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults, aged 18 and over.
The survey, which explored experiences and attitudes towards mobile spam, found that the service providers are going to be the ultimate victims, as 28% of consumers blame their operator for unwanted communications and 44% would consider changing network because of mobile spam. This figure rises to 65% as soon as the frequency of unwanted messages hits one or more a month. 
In addition, the types of mobile spam consumers are receiving go beyond simple nuisance messages, to attacks designed to steal personal information or trick the consumer into spending money. Of the respondents that have been victims of spam, nearly one in 10  have been targeted with phishing attacks encouraging them to disclose personal data, 38% received a text containing a link to another site, while 45% received a text message that tried to trick them into calling a premium rate number.
Its a fallacy to think that mobile messaging spam isnt yet an issue in the UK, says Cloudmark Head of Technology for EMEA, Neil Cook. Not only is it already a problem, but when you see that three quarters of young people are subjected to mobile spam, the scale of the challenge comes into sharp focus. Mobile spam may not be in the same league as traditional email spam, but as this survey shows, subscribers tolerance of unwanted and unsolicited mobile messages is virtually nil. That means mobile operators simply cant afford to adopt a wait-and-see strategy.
The Cloudmark survey also found that new mobile marketing initiatives are being damaged by mobile spam, with consumer confidence being lost and brand reputation impacted. 66% agreed that mobile spam would make them less likely to participate in opt-in mobile marketing campaigns and m-commerce initiatives in the future.
You can see more Cloudmark research into the state of mobile messaging security around the globe here.