May 17, 2022 | Cyber Security, Insight, News

Mobile networks experiencing an increase in Smishing attacks

Paul Valentine

Paul Valentine

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If you use an android mobile phone whether for business or personal use, then you may not be aware that the UK mobile networks are currently experiencing an increase in Smishing attacks. Please be extra suspicious when receiving SMS or MMS messages from someone you do not know. If your mobile inadvertently installs the malware, it can take over your device and this allows more infected MMS to be sent to your contacts within the device, without your knowledge. Be especially careful as your banking apps and other private applications could be compromised as well as spreading the malware inadvertently via your contacts.

What is Smishing?

Smishing is a form of phishing in which an attacker uses a text message to trick recipients into clicking a link. Once clicked the user could then be sending the attacker private and personal information if they have downloaded a malicious program to their smartphone.

When you receive a text message compared to an email you more likely to see who sent the message. Some users may not be aware of the consequences of clicking links in text messages.

A popular scam last year was a text message link to a page that either tells you to download a tracking app for the missed parcel and to reschedule via the parcel delivery portal, or that your phone is infected with FluBot and you should download anti-FluBot software.

About ‘FluBot’ malware

– Source O2

FluBot is a text message scam that is part of a large-scale smishing attack. Currently, it only affects Android devices and is downloaded under the guise of a message with a link to a tracking app or to retrieve a voicemail. The messages can appear to be from a delivery service like DHL, or other companies like Argos and Amazon.

If you click the link in the message, the malware may automatically download to your device. If the app is installed, the malware can take over your device, allowing more infected text messages to be sent to your contacts without your knowledge. The fraudster could also gain access to your messages and online banking details.

What should I do if I receive the message?

I’ve received the message but haven’t clicked on the link

You can just delete it. If you like, you can still report it by forwarding the message free of charge to 7726.

If you have an Apple device, it won’t be affected, and you can just delete the message.
 

I’ve received the message and clicked on the link, but haven’t downloaded the app

Your phone won’t be infected if you haven’t downloaded the app, so you can just delete the message. You can still report it by forwarding it to 7726, for free.
 

I’ve received the message, clicked on the link, and downloaded the app

Please be aware that your device, including any sensitive information stored on it, may have been accessed by fraudsters. If you think your device has been infected, please follow the steps below immediately to remove the malware.

Our advice to customers

If you’ve received the text or picture (MMS) message but have not clicked on the link:

You can delete it. You can also report it for free by forwarding the message to 7726. Where you forward a fraudulent message to 7726 and do not receive a reply, then this may be because you forwarded an MMS (picture) message, which 7726 does not currently support. In such cases, please text the word FRAUD to 7726, followed by the sender’s number/ID when prompted”

If you’ve received the text or picture (MMS) message and have clicked the link but not downloaded the app:

Your phone won’t be infected with malware, and you can delete the message. To report the message, forward it free of charge to 7726. Where you forward a fraudulent message to 7726 and do not receive a reply, then this may be because you forwarded an MMS (picture) message, which 7726 does not currently support. In such cases, please text the word FRAUD to 7726, followed by the sender’s number/ID when prompted”

If you’ve received the text or picture (MMS) message, clicked on the link, and downloaded the app on an Android device:

Please be aware that your contacts, text messages, and online banking details may have been accessed by fraudsters.

Cleaning your android device if you have downloaded malicious software

Remove the malicious software from your Android device using these steps:

  1. Contact your mobile support partner
  2. Download official Android anti-virus software through the Google Play store
  3. Perform a factory reset of the device
  4. Use the ‘Erase all Content and Settings’ or ‘Factory reset’ features
  5. Don’t restore from any backups created after you downloaded the app

If your current mobile contact anniversary is soon and you would like Spire to provide some options, then please contact us on 0330 2050250. We will be able to provide options whether you are single or have multiple options for all the mobile networks including O2, Vodafone and EE.

Arrange a call back

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