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5/14/2012
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Three Apps That Will Reveal The Identity Of Unknown SMS Texts

As BYOD becomes more popular, text ID services may help employees manage their new contacts and filter out spam, while keeping the enterprise network secure.

I don't like it when someone texts me and I have no idea who it is. I'm not alone. A friend of mine who works in sales has also griped about SMS messaging, especially after she goes to a conference and meets a ton of people, only to return and get an unidentified text message sent to her private phone.

Indeed, knowing the ID of the sender might help you avoid embarrassing situations when responding to an unknown text message. But it may go beyond that. For instance, a text from a savvy phisher can dive pretty deep if the sender gains initial trust by the recipient. It was revealed in a recent Symantec Report that social engineering is emerging as the most difficult hole to secure in the enterprise. For that reason alone, mobile administrators should require some form of text ID.

The good news? Instead of blindly texting back, employees can download apps that can help them identify who is texting them.

Here are three products that reveal the ID of the person sending the text, ranging from free to $2.49.

The first is WhoAreYou , a free app that provides a combination of call and text ID. When a text comes in, the number is searched in a database of over 200,000 numbers to reveal who the sender is. This app also provides call and text blocking from telemarketers and spammers. WhoAreYou integrates with YouMail and can automatically play an "out of service" message to unwanted callers before hanging up on them. The company recommends that you upload your information to its database which helps its algorithms determine who is calling by uploading your contacts. (However, I am not sure I'd want to do that.)

The next app is Enhanced SMS & Caller ID, which is available for Android for $2.49. It is a talking caller ID, SMS, Email, GTalk & Calendar, new K9/Kaiten messages, Gmail messages, and event reminders for your Google Calendar. It even provides automatic reverse lookup of unknown (not private) callers. Reviewers reported excellent customer support as well.

Finally Privus Mobile’s Privus Pack doesn't have all the features the other services provide, but as a caller ID and text ID service it is available for various mobile OSes, including Android, iOS, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and RIM/BlackBerry. However, I wasn't able to get it to work on my Blackberry Torch, but maybe I didn't give it enough time. It costs $1.95 for Android and $1.99 for the iPhone. Privus also offers IT deployment and volume licensing for corporate users.

If you know of other similar services, post a comment or email me. Just don't text me.

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