* In Asia 20 pct of text messages spam
* In Europe below 1 pct, North America below 0.5 pct
* Mature market operators see risk to brand, revenues
By Tarmo Virki, European technology correspondent
HELSINKI, March 24 Telecom operators are
cooperating to halt extensive mobile spamming spreading from
Asia to Europe and North America as this could hurt their brands
and alienate subscribers.
The telecoms industry group GSMA unveiled on Wednesday a new
spam reporting service, a world wide centre of messaging threats
and misuse, analysing mobile users reports.
The new service, operated by messaging security firm
Cloudmark, is in trials with operators including AT&T (T.N),
Korea Telecom and Vivendi's SFR (VIV.PA).
Unwanted mobile messaging -- spam, viruses or phishing
attacks -- have surged in Asia as messaging prices have dropped
to zero or close to zero, and already account for around 20
percent of all text messages.
"We believe this will move over to Europe and United States
probably during the next 18 months," Hugh McCartney, chief
executive of Cloudmark told Reuters in an interview.
So far in Europe and North America less than 1 percent of
messages are spam, McCartney said.
"Operators just want to make sure it will never reach the
level seen in Asia," he said.
So far mobile telecom operators in the mature markets have
been able to block most of the so far simple attacks, but
Cloudmark and other mobile and messaging security firms expects
risks to grow as messaging costs fall, attracting spammers.
Cloudmark, majority-owned by private equity firms including
Summit Partners and Nokia Growth Partners NOK1V.HE, competes
with bigger rivals Symantec (SYMC.O) and Cisco (CSCO.O) in
messaging security market.
(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; editing by Louise Heavens)