Malware for smartphones and tablets hasn't quite reached the levels you find on traditional computers, but criminals are working hard to make it happen. They would love to get the same information and money-stealing viruses that work on computers on your mobile gadgets.
We're reported in the past on some of the mobile threats that are already out there, from malicious apps to destructive text messages. The latest attack, discovered by security company Recorded Future, combines both tactics to put your gadgets at risk.
To attack you, hackers send out a multimedia text message that contains a link to the malicious app. Here's what the text actually says, courtesy of ITProPortal:
“You have received a multimedia message from +[country code] [sender number] Follow the link http://www.mmsforyou[.]Net/mms.apk to view your message”
If you tap the link on an Android gadget, it will ask you to install the "MMS Messaging" app, which contains the Mazar BOT malware. Mazar has been floating around the Dark Web for quite some time, but until now hasn't been used in an active attack.
Once it installs, Mazar takes full control of your Android gadget (unless you're in Russia, for some reason, and then it decides not to attack you). Mazar can then wipe all your data and permanently disable your gadget. It could also be used to steal authentication codes for online banking and social media accounts.
Fortunately, avoiding this threat is simple. Don't open any links in text messages from people you don't know. And if your Android gadget asks you to install an app not from the Google Play store, decline.
To be extra safe, you can also disable third-party app installations on your Android gadget entirely. Go to Settings>>Security and uncheck the "Unknown Sources" option. You should also check the "Verify Apps" option if you have it. Now you can't accidentally install an app that isn't from the Google Play store.
While this specific attack won't work on Apple gadgets, there have been similar attacks against iPhones and iPads in the past. Again, you don't want to tap on any link in a text message or email that isn't from someone you know. You also don't want to install apps that aren't from the Apple app store.
There are plenty of other threats to your gadgets besides this one. Learn six steps you need to take now to make your gadget as safe as possible.