Android Malware Reemerges to Subscribe Victims to Expensive SMS Services

Posted on September 09, 2015 by .

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Malware among smartphone and mobile devices is something that many of us never give a second thought to until we encounter a serious threat on our own device.

When it comes to mobile device malware, Android devices always come to mind as smartphones and tablets running the operating system are the most vulnerable and hackers are taking advantage of the gaping hole with a resurgence of threats like the Android.Trojan.MKero.A malware that secretly subscribes victims to premium SMS services.

The Android.Trojan.MKero.A malware was first discovered in 2014 and has since been distributed to users installing Android apps from unverified sources, mostly far outside of the Google Play store’s infrastructure. Such third party apps come in many different forms and are known for including malware that installs on Android devices.

In the case of Android.Trojan.MKero.A it had a dormant period after its initial release but has now reemerged. Bitdefender’s researchers have taken notice to the malware and its comeback. The researchers have identified Android.Trojan.MKero.A in many Android games that are downloaded from sources other than the Google Play Store. When a device is infected with Android.Trojan.MKero.A, it is then prone to allow various security mechanisms to be bypassed. After this, the threat may then subscribe to various premium SMS services by extracting and entering a CAPTCHA confirmation code on a specifically targeted website.

Once the SMS services is subscribed to, the user is unknowingly exploited by participation in unknowing services that eventually reward the hackers behind the scheme with a pay day at the expense of the device user’s texting and data plan.

The infographic below is a representation from Bitdefender demonstrating the attack timeline process for Android.Trojan.MKero.A conducting its malicious activities over a wide array of specific targets.

Click to enlarge

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