Computer Crime Research Center


SMS spoofing - new lingo in cybercrime

Date: July 13, 2004
Source: News Today
By: Syed Ali Mujtaba

'You have flunked'. The SMS was enough to unnerve not only Ram, an engineering student, but also his entire family.

But the panic was soon found to be unfounded as, within minutes,Ram came to know it was a spoof when his reply to the message bounced back.

It was only a prank played by one of his IT-savvy friends and Ram realised he had fallen victim to 'mobile spoofing'.

Yes, it is the new lingo that is making rounds in the world of cyber crime. In this, a cyber criminal using a web-based software, can send an SMS (short messaging service) to any cellphone without even touching a hand-set.

If the person receiving the SMS tries to reply, his message returns, as it is his cell number that the sender would have obviously made use of to send the message using the web-based software that is displayed.

Luckily, Ram's was a minor incident sans any major repercussions but it brought to focus how cyber criminals, the new breed of terrorists in the 21st century, can misuse the technology to wreak havoc.

A spoofed SMS can be sent to any cell phone from any part of the world.

Some cases of cyber spoofing have been detected by the Pune-based Asian School of Cyber Laws (ASCL), the pioneering institute in the country which specialises in investigating cyber crime.

In fact, it conducted an experiment at the national and international level wherein it successfully sent spoof SMS messages and made them appear as if they were from a person's cellular phone.

Soon after that the Director of ASCL, Rohas Nagpal, issued a note of caution to all law enforcement agencies as well as cellphone users to verify the authenticity of SMS messages when they receive them.

But tracking down the perpetrators of such messages is easier said than done. For, they are not the run of the mill common criminals living in slums or shanty localities. They are highly-educated persons who live in affluent localities, eluding the police net for various reasons.

Such criminals get started with mastery over use of personal computers and go on to look for loopholes on the web. Most of them do it just for thrill to begin with but soon some get into big time 'operations'.

The numerous interactive platforms provided on the internet add up to their information storehouse and help them in exploiting the gaps in the technology. They even engineer new software to carry out their gameplan. The latest development, SMS spoofing, can be a big weapon in the armour of these criminals and hence has to be nipped in the bud.

Though it is likely to take time to nail down such criminals, an awareness needs to be created among users and greater vigil maintained by cyber cops to avert a disaster.

So, the next time when you receive an SMS that has you in jitters and the source of which is unknown, be wary. It may be a spoof after all.

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2007-02-06 14:42:05 - salut boté nicolas
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2005-07-15 05:36:59 - hi, could u please tell the names of such... vipunj
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2004-08-02 13:42:17 - this is very intresting subject. really... suman
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