Voice Over IP Brings Potential for New Type of Spam

Spam over Internet telephony not prevalent yet, experts say

by / November 15, 2004
As reported in recent news, those who send unsolicited sales pitches for everything from free money and tropical vacations to discounted prescription medicine are beginning to use the power of the Internet and the interconnectedness of cell phones to send unsolicited text and voice messages to users of short messaging services (SMS) and voice over IP (VoIP) telephones.

Experts at the anti-virus company Sophos recently discovered, Troj/Delf-HA, a Trojan horse that attempts to send text messages en masse to SMS-equipped mobile phones. Troj/Delf-HA installs itself in the Windows system folder and inserts a command in the registry that ensures the virus runs when the computer is started up. Then it connects to a Russian Web site and downloads a text file containing the details of the SMS message the virus attempts to send using forms found on many Russian cellular service providers' Web sites which allow users to send text messages to SMS-equipped cell phones. Sophos lists the Trojan's prevalence as low on it Web site where the company also provides a fix.


A jury in Virginia recently convicted Jeremy Jaynes and Jessica Degroot under a Virginia law that makes sending unsolicited e-mail, or spam, in volume and with fraudulent return addresses and other information a felony. The jury recommended a sentence of nine years in prison for Jaynes and a fine of $7,500 for Degroot.

According to a recent article in USA Today, researchers at the network security firm, Qovia, predict that marketers could program computers to send thousands of unsolicited voice messages (dubbed "spit") to telephones connected to the Internet in a very short time. The company is currently developing products to deal with the potential deluge of unwanted voice messages delivered to users of VoIP systems.

According a study conducted by Ferris Research, "spim," or spam sent as instant messages, ballooned to two billion this year ? four times the amount sent in 2003. The company expects four billion pieces of spam will be sent as instant messages in 2005.

According to a study conducted by the Yankee Group and quoted by USA Today, users of voice over IP services are expected to be nearly 1 million Internet-phone subscribers in the U.S. this year, up more than seven times from 2003. By 2008, the group predicts the number of phones utilizing IP will swell to 17.5 million.