Telecom News Roundup: June 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.

Takedown of SMS-based FluBot spyware infecting Android phones

Earlier this month Europol, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, announced that they had run a joint task force of 11 different nations and their law enforcement agencies to take down the FluBot malware.

FluBot was an extremely viral malware that grew to prominence during 2021. It was more dangerous than other malware of its ilk due to how quickly it spread through SMS, and how insidious it was in its methods to obtain personal data.

The Dutch Police were able to disrupt the infrastructure of the groups running this malware in May, although the investigation is still ongoing as to the perpetrators of this fraud campaign.

Google Hangouts shuts down earlier than expected

Google Hangouts was the default Android messaging app from 2013-16, but was still available to use for SMS and OTT messaging, right up until this month. Users are reporting that when you open the Hangouts app you’re given a popup that directs you to Google’s modern messaging apps.

This is excellent news for people who are hoping for a wider adoption of RCS. Google Hangouts did not support the RCS messaging standard, so people who had older Android devices might have continued to use Hangouts unaware that better messaging was available with the new apps. Now all these users with older devices will be pulled forward to modern messaging apps that all support RCS, increasing the user base for the promising messaging technology.

Why haven’t iPhone, Android messaging apps evolved to make it easier to talk to each other?

At Apple’s recent WWDC developer event the Californian tech company again doubled down on their own messaging protocol, iMessage, rather than joining together with other device operating system developers like Google on the agnostic RCS standard.

In this interesting article from USA Today, Rob Pegoraro goes in depth on what’s going on with the RCS vs iMessage debate and the pros and cons for both protocols. He eventually falls down on the side of RCS, saying that Apple is failing consumers by keeping their messages in a closed system.

He also adds this interesting quote from Evan Greer, director of the tech-policy activist group Fight For the Future, blamed Apple in an email: “It’s outrageous that Apple continues to put people at risk by refusing to make iMessage encrypted and interoperable with RCS messaging.”

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