Date
18 August 2017
Spam messages are typically sent over independent channels, which make them nearly impossible to stop. Photo: Bloomberg
Spam messages are typically sent over independent channels, which make them nearly impossible to stop. Photo: Bloomberg

How your iPhone is being hijacked by spammers

Apple’s iPhones and iPads are quite well known for protecting users’ privacy but more and more of them receive junk messages every day.

In all likelihood, these are sent from China.

With a small investment, people could make up to 3 million yuan (US$487,500) a month by sending spam.

The subject vary from Taobao.com stores to real estate, luxury goods and cosmetic surgery.

The advertisements are designed by clients who can then add their own touch such as emoticons, links and pictures, National Business Daily reported, citing an insider.

Such companies typically own a database of basic personal profiles such as the recipients’ age and gender. Also, the campaign could be targeted at specific locations.

The pay is 5 fen per message, with a minimum of 50,000 messages. If the volume goes up, the unit price drops to 3 fen per message.

It takes about 270,000 yuan to set up the operation, according to a network engineer.

All it needs are 500 units of second-hand iPod Touch which costs 500 yuan each. Each iPod Touch can send about 17,000 messages in 24 hours.

If those machines work non-stop for one day, they could easily cover the initial investment.

Automatic message sending machines are also available for about 30,000 yuan.

There is nothing authorities can do to stop the practice. Neither can Apple.

The sending process is done by independent systems rather than by traditional mobile carriers, so it would be impossible to block them, said Xian Ligang chief executive of tech news portal cctime.com.

–- Contact the writer at betsytse@hkej.com

RA

EJ Insight writer

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