Android warning because users insisted on being alert
Android phone owners are being warned of another serious threat to their smartphones and it is a danger that users really cannot ignore. The new alert comes from Cleafy’s security team that discovered a nasty malware designed to steal bank and credit card information.
What makes this latest threat, called TeaBot, so concerning is that once installed on a device, it is able to live stream everything on the screen and reveal everything you do on your smartphone to attackers. That means personal text messages to partners, checking your mobile banking app, betting and of course card details when shopping online. Au.
These cyber thieves can also communicate with the phone without the user’s knowledge through the accessibility services. Cleafy says the TeaBot malware was spotted in January and re-emerged in March when it was discovered targeting users in Italy. It has since spread to other parts of Europe, also affecting users in Belgium and the Netherlands.
At the time of writing, around 60 banks are believed to be currently targeted by scammers attacking devices using fake apps that users are often tricked into downloading.
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“A new Android banker appeared in early January 2021 and was discovered and analyzed by our Threat Intelligence and Incident Response (TIR) team,” explains Cleafy in his blog post. When the malicious app is downloaded to the device, it tries to be installed as an “Android service,” an application component that can perform lengthy operations in the background.
“This feature is abused by TeaBot to silently hide itself from the user after installation, preventing detection and ensuring its persistence.”
TeaBot appears to be in the early stages of development and could spread to more countries in the coming months. Since it is still under active development, hackers can tweak the code to make it faster, more difficult to detect and make more.
To stay safe, Android users should always keep an eye on the permissions requested by an app downloaded to your smartphone. Installing a new navigation tool makes it pretty clear why it needs access to your current location … but if you’re trying to install a fun puzzle game and want to know where you are at all, sometimes that can seem a bit suspicious. Android users can use antivirus tools downloaded from the Play Store to check their gadgets for malware and suspicious software as well.
This isn’t the only attack currently facing Android users with mobile networks alerting owners to another threat that also uses fake apps to avoid detection. This nasty new threat, called FluBot, has the ability to install malicious software directly on a device that can then spy on the user.
It’s worth noting that the threats from TeaBot and Flubot only work on Android devices and Apple’s iPhone is currently not at risk. This is because of the way the malware is downloaded and installed through something called an APK.
Unlike Apple, which only allows apps to be installed from the official App Store, Android is a much more open platform where users can add additional software to their devices outside of the Google Play Store.
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