SMS Blaster Impacts on National Elections

By Jacob Howell, Director of Corporate Strategy at LATRO

Can you imagine telecom fraud impacting the US national election?

In 2008, Obama made history as the first African American to win the election against the Republican candidate, John McCain, thus becoming the 44th president of the United States. Many factors contributed to his success, but a major one was how Obama and his Chicago-based campaign team used social media and technology as an integral part of their campaign strategy, not only to raise money but also, more importantly, to develop a groundswell of empowered volunteers who felt they could make a difference.

Trump also frequently utilized social media, particularly Twitter, during and after the 2016 presidential election, explaining that social media helped him win the primary and general elections, even though his opponents spent “much more money than he did.” This election subsequently raised questions about digital interference and the sabotaging content of other governments.

The Rise of SMS Blasters

SMS Blaster Scheme

Entering 2024, we could see the next wave of election interference through a new form of telecommunications fraud called “SMS Blaster”. During a recent telecommunication industry fraud and security conference, “SMS Blaster” fraud was reported with significant momentum. It’s an invisible type of fraud, difficult for mobile network operators to detect. So-called IMSI-catchers (small and mobile fake base stations) can be carried into highly populated locations and used to “blast” out unauthorized text messages. By pretending to be a local cell tower, nearby mobile phones are tricked into connecting to them, enabling them to deliver unauthorized text messages to your phone, all without the notice of your telecom provider, as it’s sent directly to your phone.

While often used to push scam messages, malware links, and phishing attacks, this is the perfect segue to push a large quantity of manipulated messages appearing to come from trusted news and information sources to thousands of people through their mobile phones. The invisible nature of this attack is the biggest problem. No one knows how many messages have been pushed or to whom, nor is the content known. While this is a scary scenario for the US Elections, the problem could be even bigger.

Around the world 2024 is a mega election year. Globally, more voters than ever in history will head to the polls as at least 64 countries (plus the European Union)—representing a combined population of about 49% of the world’s people—will hold national elections, the results of which, for many, will prove consequential for years to come.

2024: The Ultimate Election Year Around the World. *Source: Elections Around the World in 2024 | TIME

LATRO’s Solution to SMS Blasters

At LATRO, we are taking a very active stand in battling fraud affecting telecom operators and subscribers around the world and we are looking at this scenario very carefully. We have developed a solution – LATRO’s Bypass Shield -capable of both detecting and locating where SMS Blasters are operating within the mobile network operator’s coverage area. Using expert signaling technology, we detect where these rogue apparatuses operate so that mobile network operators, law enforcement, and regulators can quickly take action to precisely geolocate, catch, and to stop them – preventing election interference and security risks to subscribers.

Download the FREE SMS Blaster Brochure to discover more.

Don’t Let Fraud Eat Away at Your Profits. Contact LATRO Today!

🔗 LATRO is committed to helping MNOs combat SMS Blaster fraud and protect their bottom line. If you would like to learn more about how we make invisible SMS Blaster attacks visible and how to bust the operators of such equipment, please contact us today or send email to info@latro.com if you would like to find out if SMS Blasters are operating within your network and their impact to your business.