Phishing emails and text spam are easy to ignore - if you don't recognize the sender, just delete it. That's why a malicious app called Andr/SlfMite-A turns your Android phone's contact list against you.
Here's how it works. Your friend gets a text message from another friend recommending an app. When your friend taps the text message's link, they download a malicious app called MoboGenie. This service claims to be a competitor to Google's Play Store.
Immediately, the app raids your friend's top 20 contacts and sends them, including you, a text message with the link to the same malicious app. If enough people fall for this trick, the app can spread like wildfire.
Luckily, staying safe is simple. First, don't tap on links in text messages. If you want to download an app, visit the app store and download it manually.
Second, most malicious apps aren't found in the Google Play store, and Andr/SlfMite-A is no exception. You have to download it from a third-party location.
You can set Android to block any apps not from the Google Play store. Go to Settings and under the Personal heading tap Security. Make sure "Unknown sources" is unchecked and "Verify apps" is checked.
If you receive a text message from a friend linking you to an off-site download page, you should also let them know that their phone might be hacked. Communication is the best way to stop hackers who want to use trust to trick your friends into downloading malware.
This is just one of the ways hackers and snoops attack your phone. Click here for my 7 essential steps to secure your smartphone or tablet.