Beware This Android Malware That Erases Your Phone With A Single Text

Beware This Android Malware That Erases Your Phone With a Single Text

It's been a bad week for people's phones, and it's not getting any better: A Danish security firm's found malware that ravages your Android phone with a single text -- erasing data or sending rogue calls and texts. Denmark-based security firm Heimdal detected the malware, called "Mazar", which sends text messages that include an ostensibly harmless multimedia message link to users. Click through, and it downloads Tor to your phone, and then the actual malware, whose source the Tor software hides. (By the way, a little reminder for living in the twenty-first century, friends: Don't click on text message links from random senders.)

Heimdal thinks that over 100,000 phones have received the Mazar text in Denmark, the BBC reports, and the firm isn't yet sure if it's spread to other countries.

We've heard of such one-text menaces targeting Android before. Last year, a University of Cambridge study found that 85 per cent of Android devices could face at least one crucial security vulnerability. This report is just the latest confidence crusher threatening the operating system's security.

Weirdly, the new malware can't infiltrate devices using Russian as their default language. Though setting your phone to a foreign language seems like an extreme measure when common sense should keep you safe.




    "Latest confidence crusher". Er, no. Maybe if you're the type of person who clicks on anything by anyone but the majority of people have the brains not to be that stupid.

    Meanwhile I'm just sitting here with my ever-reliable Lumia 640...

    So what's really at fault here is morons clicking on links and downloading stuff from random strangers.

      Exactly. If you try to install an app, it will ONLY offer to install if you have turned that on in the settings. It then WARNS you about the dangers. If you are dumb enough to ignore that, it's your own fault.

      Yeah, I think "the latest confidence crusher threatening the operating system’s security" is a bit rich.

    What annoys me about these stories is that a list of apps known to contain the malware is never released, even when the researchers have it.

    Name and shame!

    While complacency is always unwise, the majority of Android users shouldn't panic over this one. The linked BBC article contains a few pertinent details missing above.

    For starters this requires the "allow installation from unknown sources" option to be checked (in Settings/Security). By default this is unchecked and should always be left as such unless there is a good reason, for example to install a self-made app for testing purposes.

    The exploit has only been tested on older versions of Android. Marshmallow in particular has much tighter permission controls and will prompt for any of the exploit's main actions. Anyone daft enough to install an app via MMS from a stranger and give it lots of invasive permissions doesn't deserve much pity.

      I've got some fun news for you. A lot of people check that box usually because some online guide told them to do it so they could root their phone or download pirated apps (both very common things android users do). Another fun fact, only a tiny percentage of Android users run the latest software version meaning over 90% of users still will not receive prompts to allow permissions.

        Pulling facts out of your #$#@ ?
        The prompts have been there for many versions they are just getting more granular now.

        I've never known anyone who I classify as stupid enough to try and download an app shared to them via SMS from a total stranger that knows how to turn on "install from unknown sources"

          It happens, I wouldn't be overly surprised. That's why Spam filters exist, sadly it won't protect them from dodgy SMS'...

          Last edited 17/02/16 1:43 pm

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