Text Message Malware Hits Android

Monday, April 23, 2012 @ 08:04 AM gHale

Smartphone bad guys are coming up with intelligent ways to scam victims; now they created a text-message-based attack that removes the middleman and delivers its nasty payload directly to its Android targets.

The malware, identified by researchers at NQ Mobile as “UpdtBot,” disguises its malicious intentions by appearing as a text message telling recipients “their system is at risk and they need to install the latest system upgrade.”

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That is the usual scareware tactic, tricking would-be victims into believing they need to fix their phone or computer to stave off imminent harm. But UpdtBot takes the traditional scam a step further. While most Android malware uses text messages to communicate with an attack server or to sign the victim up for expensive text-message subscription services, this text-based threat contains a link in the message; when the user clicks on the link contained in the text, he goes to a site that automatically uploads the malware.

From there, UpdtBot can make calls, send texts, download new apps and install potentially corrupt software onto infected Android phones. So far, the malware has infected more than 160,000 Android devices, NQ Mobile said.

Money is the reason why criminals are hitting Android devices?

“While we don’t have any statistics on how it’s being used by the cyber criminals who created it, we believe they’ll attempt to make money off it,” NQ Mobile said.

As a word of caution: Keep your smartphone, and all the information you have stored on it, safe, never open unsolicited messages or click on suspicious messages or links.

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