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tvalleau

SMS text filtering locally-only?

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I'd like to see an option that works ONLY on the phone itself, and searches the text of each message for a given word. If that word appears, then the message is spam.

Example: I get about 15 text messages a day each of which includes the name "Paully".  The numbers are spoofed, so reporting the number is completely useless. Only the text itself is useful.

I'd like a preference to  "hereby authorize Malwarebytes to seach incoming sms text" and check for a configurable word (or better list of words) which I supply.

I realize the privacy issue. However, I'll believe you if you say it all happens locally. I don't know if you can even -see- the text body, but if you can then programmatically, looking for a given word is trivial.

If you can offer this in the paid version, it would make many, many users happy, I'll bet!

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Thanks for the suggestion.  I will submit it to the Product team for review.

Please let us know if you have any further suggestions or feedback.

Thanks

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On 11/26/2018 at 3:27 PM, tvalleau said:

Well any of them would likely welcome it. In my own case, it's iOS.

There are some problems with that on iOS, due to Apple's focus on privacy.

Although SMS messages on iOS are sent to our server for processing, they are completely anonymized. This means:

  1. In the app, we cannot see the phone number or SMS content... or even, for that matter, that you received an SMS at all.
  2. On the server, we cannot see anything but the sender's phone number and SMS content. There is no context at all that would allow us to connect that message back to your phone.

What this means is that we cannot support this kind of custom filtering on iOS. In theory, we could do it, but only if it was something that should be part of a global rule, applied to everyone.

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Thanks for the reply. Perhaps I was not clear. I'm suggesting something in the software that is -entirely local- to each individual's phone. -Nothing- is sent anywhere, hence my privacy cannot possibly be violated.

I'm suggesting that any MB user can enter a word (in MB prefs) which the software will then look for in an incoming text -on my phone itself-. Since each individual user would have the ability to enter a word of his/her choice, it would be a "global" option.

Perhaps I don't understand this constraint: " In the app, we cannot see the phone number or SMS content... or even, for that matter, that you received an SMS at all. "

OK... then how do you know to send the message to your server?

Or... are all messages routed thru your server -before- they ever get to me? Is that the way it works?

Yesterday (and every day for a year now) I get an average of 17 spam SMS messages who address me as "Paully".  The numbers are spoofed. Reporting or blocking the number is useless. The ONLY solution I can think of is local filtering on my own phone. I can read my messages. Why can't software read my messages? (I'm a retired programmer of 40 years experience, and there's obviously something basic I'm missing here...)

Thanks again for your courtesy.

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It's possible that the phone's OS somehow prevents software on the phone from accessing/reading the contents of SMS messages.  As I understand it, the only filtering the product does is for blocking senders via their phone numbers, hence the reason they base their block lists on the phone numbers of the spammers/scammers etc.  My guess is that the OS prevents it because they wouldn't want an app on the phone to be able to spy on your messages and send their contents to a third party or anything like that (i.e. spyware), but I'm not familiar enough with smart phones and their operating systems to say for certain so I'll have to concede to what the Malwarebytes folks say.

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Maybe if they acquire Hiya / Mr. Number, or if they acquire RoboKiller, then they can at least drastically expand that list. And RoboKiller especially would make it easier to actively thwart Robocalls on top of that. (By the way, there's an on-going petition to introduce, standardize and mandate a new tech that will also mitigate Robocalls. Good stuff, I'll do a link later in General Chat.)

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8 hours ago, tvalleau said:

Yesterday (and every day for a year now) I get an average of 17 spam SMS messages who address me as "Paully".  The numbers are spoofed. Reporting or blocking the number is useless.

I have three or four call blockers that I use and although I haven't experienced the volume you did yesterday, I continue to get spoofed number calls fairly routinely. It's clear that none of the solutions available today are going to solve or significantly reduce this number spoofing plague.

As Amaroq_Starwind mentioned, there is a technical solution that is slowly working it's way to us which apparently will prevent spoofing and I did sign off on a petition to the US FCC to expedite it's implementation. I would encourage you and anybody else reading this to get behind this solution and make your support known to your responsible government agency

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I'm not sure why, but I virtually never receive any spam texts at all, and the few telemarketing calls I get go unanswered as I don't answer the phone if I don't recognize the number calling or if it shows as blocked/unknown.  I also have my phone set so that the default ringtone is silent and then assign an actual ringtone to all of the contacts in my address book so that the phone only actually rings if someone in my contacts is calling me that way I don't have to listen to it going off when some telemarketer or scammer is trying to contact me.  Of course I still use an old flip phone so some of these measures might not be possible with a modern smart phone; I'm not sure as I've never owned one (nor do I have any desire to as I hate touch screens, don't use my phone for any internet activities, avoid social media like the plague and have no desire to lug around a plastic Pop-Tart with a glass screen all day :P .

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Didya also place yourself on the Do-Not-Call list? 'Cause I have :P

In fact, I actually registered my cellphone number not just for the United States Do-Not-Call list, but the Canadian and Australian ones as well, same day that I installed RoboKiller on my iPhone. Couldn't get RoboKiller to successfully activate though, not sure why.

In the event that I do actually get a Robocall, which is pretty often, I actually say "HELP! I'M TRAPPED IN A ROBOCALL FACTORY!" so that they end up recording that.

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Yes: I've done that, (many years ago) however this is about SMS messages, and  the Do-Not-Call list applies only to phone calls.

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FWIW, my answering "message" begins with a "number not in service" tone sequence (followed by a pause, and my regular message.)  Some automated callers will remove the number on receiving that tone. That seems to have actually worked in a few cases. Again, however, that's for phone calls, and hence is wandering off-topic for this thread.

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Yeah, I'm on the do not call list already.  I'm not sure why I don't receive any spam texts, but I don't.  I remember getting a handful of them several years ago but haven't had any since then though I'm not sure why; perhaps it's related to the fact that I don't use 2-factor authentication for anything and I don't give my phone number to any companies or stores when I can avoid it (because it is ALWAYS for marketing purposes, even if they claim it is for some other legitimate purpose).

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I don't give my cell number to anybody except emergency contacts, but still get Chinese & other spam calls and a couple of SMS mesages to it. I suspect they just robocall all numbers at an exchange to see what works.

Edited by alvarnell

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