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27 Feb 2007

Firm has to pay $200,000 damages for sending SMS spam to cell phones

Verizon Wireless wins injunction against text spammers

Verizon Wireless has won an injunction against a company for sending spam to cellphone users
Verizon Wireless has won an injunction against a company for sending spam to cellphone users.

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have warned of the rising nuisance of spam sent to mobile phones as Verizon Wireless wins an injunction against a company which sent almost 100,000 SMS spam messages to cell phone users offering a prize cruise to the Bahamas.

Verizon Wireless filed a suit against Specialized Programming and Marketing and its owner, Charles Henderson, who sent the spam messages on behalf of Passport Holidays. In sending the unsolicited text messages to cell phones, Henderson and his company violated the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act and are required to pay damages in excess of $200,000.

Passport Holidays was required to pay $10,000 in damages to Verizon Wireless in a separate judgment last year.

"Misguided companies may be tempted to exploit modern technology in their attempt to get marketing messages in front of their potential audience, but spamming mobile phones is not acceptable," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "SMS text spam is a tiny problem compared to conventional email spam, but it is growing. Users should report SMS abuse to their phone network providers and think carefully before acting upon unsolicited text messages."

Charles Henderson, his company Specialized Programming and Marketing, and Passport Holidays are now prohibited from sending text message spam to Verizon Wireless customers.

In January, Sophos reported how a Florida couple were being sued for sending 5 million spam messages to cell phones advertising time shares.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.