February 7, 2013 By Dancho Danchev

Mobile spammers release DIY phone number harvesting tool

Need a good reason not to connect to the public Web with your phone? Wonder where all that SMS spam is coming from? Keep reading.

Mobile phone spammers have recently released a new version of a well known phone number harvesting tool, whose main objective is to crawl the public Web and index mobile phone numbers, which will later be used for various malicious and fraudulent purposes.

More details:

Sample screenshot of the DIY phone number harvesting tool:

DIY_Phone_Harvesting_Tool_Russia_Ukraine

Second screenshot of the DIY phone number harvesting tool:

DIY_Phone_Harvesting_Tool_Russia_Ukraine_01

The second screenshot displays the results of the tool in the following order: unique number of the harvested phone number, the actual phone number, name of the owner, logo of the mobile operator, name of the mobile operator, date and country (in this case, Russia).

Third screenshot of the DIY phone harvesting tool:

DIY_Phone_Harvesting_Tool_Russia_Ukraine_02

The third screenshot offers a real-time perspective of the logging function of the application, including the actual processed URLs.

Fourth screenshot of the DIY phone number harvesting tool:

DIY_Phone_Harvesting_Tool_Russia_Ukraine_03

Users of the tool can choose which country they want to target. In this case, it’s either Russia or Ukraine which was introduced in the latest version of the tool.

Fifth screenshot of the DIY phone number harvesting tool:

DIY_Phone_Harvesting_Tool_Russia_Ukraine_04

Cybercriminals and spammers are not strangers to the concept of market segmentation. Just like true marketers, the developer of the tool has included the option to choose a specific region within the available countries, with the idea to assist in the inevitable malicious and fraudulent activity that will result from this phone number harvesting activity.

Key features of the tool include:

  • Automatic recognition of Russian and Ukrainian mobile phone providers
  • Indexing based on a region and city for both Russia and Ukraine
  • Multi-threaded software allowing up to 100 “indexing streams”
  • Option to collect “all numbers”, or numbers belonging to a particular mobile provider only

What can Russian, Ukrainian or international users in general do to prevent this form of abuse?

For starters, check whether the Web site that requires your phone number is actually listing it on the Web. Although the tool doesn’t have support for internal Web site — through login+password authorization — indexing, future versions are prone to include such a feature, so ensure that the Web site where you’re posting your phone number has some sort of protection against such automatic harvesting. Think beyond CAPTCHAs, as CAPTCHAs are virtually irrelevant to today’s modern cybercriminals. The truly paranoid can always get a second phone number, and use it exclusively on the Web.

We’ll continue monitoring the development of the tool, and post updates as soon as new versions get released.

You can find more about Dancho Danchev at his LinkedIn Profile. You can also follow him on  Twitter.

Share Button
0 comments

Trackbacks

  1. […] The latest version of a phone number harvesting tool offers its users the ability to trawl the public web and collect mobile phone numbers indexed on sites that ask visitors for them, according to a Webroot report. […]

  2. […] The latest version of a phone number harvesting tool offers its users the ability to trawl the public web and collect mobile phone numbers indexed on sites that ask visitors for them, according to a Webroot report. […]

  3. […] Webroot has found a recently released DIY phone number harvesting tool. So anyone can set its own rule and […]

  4. […] The latest version of a phone number harvesting tool offers its users the ability to trawl the public web and collect mobile phone numbers indexed on sites that ask visitors for them, according to a Webroot report. […]

  5. […] “Cybercriminals and spammers are not strangers to the concept of market segmentation,” explained Dancho Danchev, a security researcher at Webroot, in a blog post. […]

  6. […] “Cybercriminals and spammers are not strangers to the concept of market segmentation,” explained Dancho Danchev, a security researcher at Webroot, in a blog post. […]

  7. […] a slow death, cyber-criminals are moving to more targeted and personal communication. According to a report by security company Webroot, a new phone number harvester is being advertised these days on the […]

  8. […] a mobile spammer who’s automatically and efficiently verifying the validity of a recently harvested database of mobile numbers, with QA (Quality Assurance) in mind. These verified databases will be later on used as the […]

  9. […] Consider going through the following posts to get the “big picture” on how the spam ecosystem really works – Millions of harvested emails offered for sale; Millions of harvested U.S government and U.S military email addresses offered for sale; New DIY email harvester released in the wild; A peek inside a managed spam service; Mobile spammers release DIY phone number harvesting tool […]

  10. […] The latest version of a phone number harvesting tool offers its users the ability to trawl the public web and collect mobile phone numbers indexed on sites that ask visitors for them, according to a Webroot report. […]

  11. […] It’s outsourcing to a vendor of managed SMS spam services, which would result in a higher quality standard applied to the campaign, as well as a cost-effective alternative for the them to take advantage of due to the achieved […]

  12. […] this year we profiled a newly released mobile/phone number harvesting application, a common tool in the arsenal of mobile spammers, as well as vendors of mobile spam […]

  13. […] messages across multiple verticals. These services are assisted through the use of proprietary or publicly obtainable phone number harvesting and verifying DIY […]

  14. […] offer for managing SMS spam services was also completed by the possibility to use proprietary or publicly obtainable phone number harvesting application. The underground offer it is able to provide all necessary for illicit activities such […]

true