Alerting millions of Android users about malware that could add huge costs to your bill

MILLIONS of Android users are warned about new malware that could put a huge strain on victims’ phone bills.

Security experts discovered the Trojan horse malware in several applications available on Android app stores and say that it has already tried to infect thousands of users.

SMSFactory malware has been detected in applications that can be downloaded from Android app stores and can trigger huge phone bills

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SMSFactory malware has been detected in applications that can be downloaded from Android app stores and can trigger huge phone billsPhoto credit: Getty
Experts say the malware has been detected in countries around the world and cybersecurity software has protected at least 165,000 people from the threat

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Experts say the malware has been detected in countries around the world and cybersecurity software has protected at least 165,000 people from the threatPhoto credit: Getty

The newly discovered malware, known as SMSFactory, was unveiled on Wednesday after being spotted by cybersecurity company Avast Software.

“The SMSFactory secretly siphons money from victims around the world… by sending premium SMS and making calls to premium phone numbers,” the cybersecurity experts explained in a blog post.

Avast says it has “protected” more than 165,000 people using its SMSFactory cybersecurity software over the past 12 months.

According to Avast, SMSFactory has been looking for phones in several countries, including Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, Ukraine, the United States, France, and Spain.

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If the malware successfully makes it onto a user’s phone, it can be used to send premium SMS and other costly features, which can result in excessive charges.

The malware uses malicious ads to discreetly redirect users to a website where they are unknowingly encouraged to download the malicious app.

“After installation, the user is greeted with a welcome screen,” writes Avast.

“Clicking “Accept” will enable the app’s malicious behavior.”

Once the malicious app is activated, the user sees a simple menu with videos, adult content and games that are either not working or not available.

The Trojan threat is difficult to detect once downloaded, so users might not even realize it is there.

“SMSFactory employs multiple tricks to stay on the victim’s device and remain undetected,” according to Avast’s experts.

“It is evident that the malware relies on the user to forget the app on their phone.”

According to Avast, the amount of money the app can siphon from users varies.

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In its testing, the cybersecurity company observed instances of $1 daily charges incurred by ten premium SMS messages sent using the malware.

Those $1 daily charges would continue to add up as long as the app remains undetected on the phone, and could add up to almost $30 a month in additional costs.

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https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5496122/warning-android-malware-huge-costs-phone-bill/ Alerting millions of Android users about malware that could add huge costs to your bill

Chris Barrese

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