[ISN] UK Man Charged Over Omnipoint Message Hack

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Wed Feb 03 1999 - 22:58:21 PST

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    UK Man Charged Over Omnipoint Message Hack
    DONCASTER, SOUTH YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND, 1999 FEB 3 (Newsbytes) -- By Steve
    Gold, Newsbytes. In one of first cases of its type in the world, a
    22-year- old man from Doncaster in England has been charged with various
    offenses in connection with an SMS (short message system) text messaging
    attack on the Omnipoint cellular network last February. 
    As reported by Newsbytes at the time, the cellular industry's first system
    hack left several hundred Orange and Vodafone subscribers feeling annoyed
    in the UK. It also knocking out a UK textile company's switchboard for
    several days. 
    The saga started on February 11 last year when Orange and Vodafone
    cellular subscribers in the UK started receiving SMS text messages
    advising them that they had won a prize -- a Peugot 106 car -- and were to
    call a Nottingham (England) number to arrange delivery. 
    Newsbytes' investigations of the time revealed that at least 50 Orange
    phone subscribers and several hundred Vodafone subscribers received the
    messages, resulting in an apparently innocent textile company being
    deluged with excited calls. 
    Dave Danielli, a spokesperson for Vodafone, told Newsbytes at the time
    that the cellular carrier's investigations had led back to the Omnipoint
    GSM (global system for mobile communications) network in New York, where
    officials had traced the SMS messages' source to an oil company's e-mail
    server, where messages were apparently sent -- across the Internet --
    without the oil company's consent. 
    Danielli said that the problem knocked out the Nottingham company's
    switchboard whose number had been given in the "prize winner's" SMS
    "They had seven switchboard operators, all of whom were kept busy with
    calls. After the Omnipoint to Vodafone SMS messages were blocked, things
    started to get back to normal," he said. 
    According to Detective Sergeant Harry Parsonage of Nottinghamshire Police,
    a man from Doncaster was arrested yesterday in connection with the
    "I can tell you that yesterday, 2nd February 1999 a 22-year-old man from
    Doncaster was charged with an offense under the Telecommunications Act
    1984 in relation to this matter," he said, adding that the as-yet unnamed
    man will appear at Nottingham City Magistrates Court on March 17. 
    According to DS Parsonage, the man has also been charged with seven other
    unrelated offenses under Sections one and three of the UK's Computer
    Misuse Act. 
    Newsbytes notes that most digital cellular networks support SMS text
    messages, which can be up to 160 characters long.  Although direct access
    to foreign SMS centers is not actively encouraged, it is difficult to
    stop, Newsbytes notes. 
    This is because, when a subscriber from one GSM network is roaming on
    another country's network, SMS messages are forwarded on from the home
    system for the local network to deliver. Roaming voice, data and SMS calls
    are the basic features of GSM networks, making SMS messages very difficult
    to block on a localized basis. 
    By accessing a foreign SMS center, in this case, the Omnipoint service in
    the US, by e-mail, the man appears to have been able to bulk e-mail the
    Vodafone and Orange cellular users, and thus cause chaos at the
    Nottingham-based textile company. 
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