Trust in SMS and mobile social networking falters

SMS is seen as a less secure channel than a year ago.

In a survey of 1,000 UK consumers by Cloudmark, 19 per cent viewed SMS as being less secure, while more than half (52 per cent) said they do not have enough trust in the security of their mobile device to use it to pay for goods and services.

Speaking to SC Magazine, Alan Ranger, vice-president of mobile marketing at Cloudmark, said the reason for loss of trust in SMS was greater awareness of how easy it is for attackers to use the channel.

He said: “A year ago you only wanted to receive trusted messages, but in the last year there have been more text messages asking if you had an accident or wanted to reclaim PPI, and people who have had accidents get worried that their data has been leaked. So they have woken up and questioned if SMS is as safe as it used to be.

“There is an increase in malware and attackers are using SMS to propagate that. Outside of the UK there has been a huge increase in scams in the US – lottery fraud and fake payday loans, where people give away their details.

“No one trusts email anymore, you don't click on links, so attackers have moved to mobile. If the recipient thinks a message is from a friend they act on it; it may say 'you have a new voicemail' – when you dial it, it is a premium-rate number.”

The survey also found that trust in mobile social networking is also declining, with 22 per cent stating they are increasingly disillusioned with instant messaging services, and 38 per cent claiming to have less trust in social networks' security.

Ranger said that on a mobile, social networking sites are quite open, and Apple iMessage and BlackBerry Messenger were becoming more popular alternatives.

Jacinta Tobin, chief marketing officer at Cloudmark, said: “The inherently personal nature of the mobile device is clearly fostering a high level of trust among consumers, but if the potential of the channel as a platform for engaging consumers with value-added, opt-in services is to be realised, it is vital that this high level of trustworthiness is upheld.”

Sign up to our newsletters