A Nigerian company is claiming to have access to a Nigerian GSM database that contains a whopping 21 million phone numbers, and are offering interested parties access to them.
We got the tipoff from a flyer posted on Twitter by Tolu Adeleru Balogun which includes a phone number (apparently for interested parties to call in for “business”), a website – www.dovesms.com – and also states that the phones numbers are sorted by States or Local Government Areas.
— Tolu Adeleru Balogun (@tolulopeab) August 5, 2016
A quick look at the website showed what seems to be a legit business — a worldwide SMS Gateway, providing advanced mobile marketing tools such as customized bulk SMS services, SMS scheduling, group SMS, contact management, and mobile apps.
It claims its clients range from small, entrepreneurial organizations to large, established global industry players across a broad scope of high-technology areas. Then the partners — Glo, MTN, Airtel and Etisalat — which brings me to the question: How the heck did dovesms lay their hands on 21 million phone numbers?
Right now, I can only think of two answers…no three. 1. They probably hacked into the telcos’ database. 2. They used some sort of phone harvesting software (if there’s anything like that) which would still be tantamount to hacking. 3. They probably have an insider in the telcos who gets a share of the deal.
Whatever the case is, it is really scary that anyone, aside the telcos, will have access to such humongous amount of phone numbers. The implications are numerous.
For one thing, advertisers/marketers could use it to send unsolicited (and really annoying) text messages to Nigerians. Yea…the text messages would go through whether you’ve activated DND. You’ll only just have a new job of sending STOP to those numbers!
But quite frankly, there are more serious implications than marketers spamming you – just like emails, phone numbers are craved by identity thieves.
Those numbers could easily be used for unscrupulous activities online or offline. Some of those activities, many of which applies to us here, have been discussed HERE by Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime.
The implications are worrying but my whole trepidation is unfounded because I do not know if the advert is really for real, however it behooves the regulators to seriously look into this matter.
— Tony Ojobo (@TonyOjobo1) August 8, 2016