Security researchers have reported that a new SMS malware is targeting Android users in India, who are looking for COVID-19 vaccine registration.
The SMS worm spreads via text messages and can gain unauthorised access to private accounts, expose personal data and delete data without the user’s permission.
How does the COVID-19 SMS malware work?
Users will receive an SMS containing the fake free vaccine registration app as a link in the message. Once users click on it, the app gets downloaded and appears on their phone as the Vaccine Register app.
It then asks the user to access the contact list and permissions to send and view text messages.
Cyble has further revealed how the Malware Vaccine Registration operates.According to Cyble, the malware performs different activities on the victim’s device, once downloaded, like enabling
- unauthorised access or restricting access to private accounts and services,
- using the device for unauthorised activities, exposing personal data from the user’s mobile device and accounts,
- unauthorised deletion of data from the mobile device or services.
Cyble said in a blog post.
Some of the suspicious activities spotted include checking for devices that are connected to the phone through Bluetooth, sending text messages using SMS Manager, checking the status of the user’s SIM card and sending out queries around phone contact information.
How to Stay Safe from such malware
The best way to avoid getting duped by such malware is by downloading apps only from the official app store and Google Play store. Avoid downloading via links sent by unverified sources.
If you have received a link via text message from where you can download an app, then avoid doing that.
Another good practice is checking what permissions are being asked by apps on your phone. Keep your antivirus software updated to detect and prevent malware infections.
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