News Roundup: May 2022

2 min read

With the first half of 2022 almost over, here’s our monthly roundup of the biggest news in the business messaging and telecoms space.

RCS has over 500 million active users as Google digs at Apple yet again for ignoring the standard

Earlier this month, Google held their annual developer conference, Google I/O. This is where almost all of their big announcements for the year occur, from new versions of Android to new features for their smart home devices. At the 2022 I/O, Google talked quite a bit about RCS and shared that their RCS messaging app now has 500 million monthly active users.

They also took the chance at the same time to have a little bit of fun at Apple’s expense, where currently the default messaging app uses the iMessage protocol between Apple devices, but when messaging any other mobile phone will use SMS. Here’s what Google had to say:

“We hope that every mobile operating system gets the message and upgrades to RCS. So your messages are private, no matter what device you’re using.”

One thing to note here is that Google is sharing stats based on their own messaging app alone, so while that app has 500 million monthly active users, a recent data from Mobilesquared shows that there are 1.5 billion users of RCS worldwide and that the messaging protocol has grown 55.9% over the last year.

Multi-factor authentication to generate $27 billion in 2022

According to a recent study by Juniper Research, multi-factor authentication SMS text messages are predicted to generate $27 billion in revenue for mobile operators globally in 2022.

According to the report, SMS authentication is a huge money-maker, with authentication messages making up 60% of all business SMS traffic at 1.7 trillion messages in 2022.

“SMEs have typically not invested in messaging for security in the past. However, rising pressure to implement greater security for users will drive adoption amongst SMEs over the next five years and increase global traffic,said research co-author Keith Breed.

FluBot Android malware targets Finland in new SMS campaigns

We’ve previously shared on our blog an article about one of the most pervasive malware threats in our industry, FluBot. Well, now Finland’s National Cyber Security Center has issued a warning about FluBot due to a new campaign by criminals using SMS and MMS to spread the malware across the country.

This is the second time that the Finnish Government has warned their citizens about FluBot attacks. In 2021, they issued a warning when over 70,000 messages were detected within 24 hours. We have no concrete numbers on the amount detected this time, but the NCSC were quoted as saying that “thousands of malicious messages are circulating”.

FluBot is a considerable threat to MNO subscribers as it directly targets financial and cryptocurrency apps, replacing their login pages with fake ones designed to capture login information from unsuspecting victims. Also, it gets the “flu” in its name because it spreads just like its namesake. Once your phone is infected, it will generate messages to all of your contacts, sending the malware on to infect them as well.

While the primary angle of attack is against Android devices, it’s also been affecting iOS users by directing them to premium subscriptions and other mobile-related scams.

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