Secure Messaging Initiative Joins Fight Against Smishing

By Greg Tavarez, TMCnet Editor  |  July 11, 2022

Spam text messages continue to rise and create, at best, a nuisance, but also a security risk.  The total number of spam texts received by Americans reached over 12 billion for the month of June alone, according to RoboKiller. That is nearly 44 spam texts for the average American.

The wireless association CTIA announced a new program that will help stop unwanted or illegal text messaging spam. The Secure Messaging Initiative, or SMI, with a central clearinghouse, will allow providers and government agencies to share suspected spam messages and techniques.

With SMI, providers will report suspected spam messaging and activity to the clearinghouse, which will allow other providers and agencies to take corrective action. Best practices can also be shared among providers that can be used to further refine spam mitigation efforts. This will be beneficial in helping shut down spam activity and target the senders of unwanted or fraudulent messages – and protecting consumers and businesses from fraud, identity theft, and other losses.

“Texting is one of the most trusted and widely used forms of communication,” said CTIA (News - Alert) President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker. “The Secure Messaging Initiative builds on this commitment by creating a centralized clearinghouse for information about spam, spammers and industry best practices, empowering the industry and government agencies to help stop unwanted messaging.”

Providers are using various tools to protect the messaging platform, including spam filters, algorithms and blocking techniques. These approaches follow the industry’s Messaging Principles and Best Practices, which offer guidance on how providers can help protect consumers against unwanted texting, encouraging them to gather information about the sender and their campaign using processes that enhance transparency and discourage bad actors.

Consumers can also help with these efforts by forwarding spam text messages to 7726 or reporting them to security apps or government agencies like the FTC, FCC (News - Alert) or to their state attorney general.

Edited by Erik Linask