SMS trojan targets Android users in eight western countries

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Nov 25, 2011

Will another piece of mobile malware convince Google manager of the seriousness of the threat?

Researchers at Kaspersky have discovered an SMS trojan for Android phones that targets users in eight western countries.

This trojan, which masquerades as an SMS monitoring app, gives an error message upon being launched, suggesting that it is incompatible with the Android version being used. Meanwhile, in the background it sends SMS messages to premium rate numbers operated by the crooks, who thus steal money from the phone's owner. Such pieces of mobile malware are far from new - however, hitherto they had mostly been seen in Russia and China.

The trojan has a second component, which acts on incoming messages from certain numbers and hide these from the user. This is used to give the attackers insight into the number of premium messages sent from the phone.

While few security researchers will be surprised by yet another Android trojan, it is possible Google's Open Source Programs Manager Chris DiBone will be. In a recent post on his Google+ page, he claimed that the threat from "viruses" for mobile phones is vastly exaggerated, calling companies selling malware protection for mobile devices "charlatans and scammers" and adding that their employees "should be ashamed of [themselves]".

The accusation that the threat from mobile malware is exaggerated is not new. In 2008 G DATA's Dirk Hochstrate said that "to some it might seem as if the security industry is more interested in making money than in providing real protection". However, given the enormous rise in mobile malware in general and that targeting Android in particular, it is hardly surprising DiBona's comments led to fierce reactions from security experts.

More on the SMS trojan at Kaspersky's SecureList blog here. A reaction to DiBona's post by Trend Micro's Rik Ferguson here with another one from ESET's David Harley on a personal blog here.

Posted on 25 November 2011 by Virus Bulletin

 Tags

trojan sms android
twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2019 paper: APT cases exploiting vulnerabilities in region-specific software

At VB2019, JPCERT/CC's Shusei Tomonaga and Tomoaki Tani presented a paper on attacks that exploit vulnerabilities in software used only in Japan, using malware that is unique to Japan. Today we publish both their paper and the recording of their…

New paper: Detection of vulnerabilities in web applications by validating parameter integrity and data flow graphs

In a follow-up to a paper presented at VB2019, Prismo Systems researchers Abhishek Singh and Ramesh Mani detail algorithms that can be used to detect SQL injection in stored procedures, persistent cross-site scripting (XSS), and server‑side request…

VB2020 programme announced

VB is pleased to reveal the details of an interesting and diverse programme for VB2020, the 30th Virus Bulletin International Conference.

VB2019 paper: Cyber espionage in the Middle East: unravelling OSX.WindTail

At VB2019 in London, Jamf's Patrick Wardle analysed the WindTail macOS malware used by the WindShift APT group, active in the Middle East. Today we publish both Patrick's paper and the recording of his presentation.

VB2019 paper: 2,000 reactions to a malware attack – accidental study

At VB2019 cybercrime journalist and researcher Adam Haertlé presented an analysis of almost 2000 unsolicited responses sent by victims of a malicious email campaign. Today we publish both his paper and the recording of his presentation.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.