World Cup fans continue to be prime targets for cybercriminals this summer with new mobile viruses targeting smart-phone users looking for the latest news and content surrounding the international soccer tournament being held in South Africa this year.
Mobile viruses disguised as “Free World Cup VOD” and other hot topics, were identified last week by mobile security software firm NetQin Mobile. The company said that more than 500 complaint cases were reported and filed on June 23.
Identified as ShadowSrv.A, FC.Downsis.A, BIT.N and MapPlug.A, these viruses are embedded in mini mobile games to lure users to download. Once downloaded, the device will be controlled by the virus originator.
The virus propagation model is similar to computer “botnets,” the term generally used to describe security threats on PCs, where a group of computers infected with malware that is controlled by one owner or software source.
“The explosion of mobile applications has made smart-phones an enticing target for virus authors. Many security threats that were once only spread on PCs, such as botnets, are now moving to mobile devices to maximize the financial interest,” said Dr. Lin Yu, CEO of NetQin.
The viruses usually either send messages to all the contacts of the address book directly, or send messages to random phone numbers by connecting to the server; both of which result in extra charges to the user’s phone bill. The viruses can “cover their tracks” and often delete the sent messages from a user’s Outbox and SMS log. The messages sent by viruses are themed the hottest topics, including Free World Cup VOD, and the most popular blind date TV show, etc. All messages contain URLs linked to malicious sites that users are unable to see until they’ve already clicked and fallen into the virus trap.
The botnets are targeting mobile devices with S60 3rd and 5th OS, with estimated 100,000 mobile phones impacted so far.
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