These days, thanks to advances in technology and an overwhelming amount of options, many of us choose to order items online in favor of walking into a brick and mortar store to make a purchase. Unfortunately, malware has caught onto this and is exploiting the trend on both mobile and desktop environments.
Email spam messages that pose as tracking notifications from shipping companies such as DHL, Express, FedEx, or UPS have become one of the most common methods for distributing this kind of malware. Most recently, criminals utilized these tactics in two cases in Europe.
The first mobile spam campaign specifically targeted German users via text messages. In this case, a text message containing a fake DHL tracking notification was sent to Android users that when downloaded and installed, distributed malware. For a more in-depth look at how this malware operates, read this recent McAfee Labs™ post.
The second one, in Poland, was a more traditional spam campaign involving email. This method targeted users by sending them an email, allegedly from a bank, alerting them that malware had been detected on their mobile device. The offending email contained an attachment claiming to be from a well-known security company designed to detect mobile malware. Unfortunately, this attached app was in fact the malware itself, and when downloaded, it distributed a new variant of an Android remote access tool (RAT). The McAfee Labs team discovered this particular threat.
In both of these cases, if successful, the malware was released onto the unlucky victims’ smartphone and was able to remotely execute the following commands:
- Leak sensitive device information such as contact list, phone number, device model, call logs, browser history and more.
- Send messages using data (phone number and text) provided by the remote server.
- Interfere with incoming messages.
These text and email spam campaigns are becoming an increasingly popular way to distribute Android malware, steal personal information, or even gain complete control over a mobile device.
McAfee® Mobile Security, free for Android and iOS, detects both of these threats and others like it. The Android version alerts users if a threat is present and protects them from any potential data loss. iOS users can get backup and recovery for contacts, photo and video protection, as well as location tracker.