SMS text message spam has been greatly increased in the US thanks to an Android Trojan horse that infects your phone and turns it into a spam-bot. The Trojan in this case is SpamSoldier, and it’s allegedly the first such spambot for Android phones and tablets. Whilst other spam bots have infected PCs to send text messages, this is the first SMS-happy spammer to infect Android phones. Thus reiterating my previous warnings that the more a smartphone becomes like a computer, the more viruses will be problematic for smartphones. It’s just the nature of the beast.
In this particular case, SpamSoldier likes to send out SMS messages enticing people to visit web links where they can snag games like Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Angry Birds Space. But, of course, that’s not all that you’re getting, even if the installer app does often times actually give you a free version of the game. That installer also gives you a virus, turning your Android device into an SMS-spewing monster. Which, of course, includes sending other people those same SMS messages that tricked you into downloading it in the first place. And thus it spreads.
It also provides the virus writer with a means to send out other SMS spam for free, which has been used for fishing attacks and other nefarious “fun” and profit. But not profit for you, because you’re the one paying for the SMS text messages that are annoying everyone else. Hope you have an unlimited account.
Antivirus packages, such useless things as they tend to be on phones so far, have as of yet not caught a darned instance of SpamSoldier. Sometimes I wonder why anyone even tries. What good is an antivirus package that doesn’t catch viruses after all?
Admittedly, so far SpamSoldier isn’t exactly spreading like wildfire. It’s not exactly “out of control” as good viruses tend to get. Though perhaps that’s part of the problem, that it’s staying under the radar enough so that people are taking it seriously.
In any event, consider yourself warned. If you want an app, get it from the proper marketplace, not from an unrequested SMS message. (Seriously people. It’s just like email. If you weren’t expecting it and the source is sketchy, don’t go all click-happy! Just delete it.) And if you own a smartphone, or plan to in the future, remember: the more it’s like a PC, the more it’ll get nasty viruses. So far security downright sucks on smartphones. Keep that in mind as you happily enter personal information into them. The more connected a gizmo is, the less secure it is. And you don’t get much more connected than a smartphone. So the next time you get a message for deal that’s too good to be true, please, practice safe text.