Many people find that doing their banking through their mobile devices is quick, efficient and convenient. Unfortunately, it also carries with it risk of cybercriminals hacking the smartphones and other mobile devices used by their victims to gain access to their victims’ bank accounts and steal their money. In my Scam of the day for June 3, 2016 I gave a number of tips about how to do your online and mobile banking more safely. Cybersecurity, however, is a never ending process and a few days ago, researchers at cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab announced it had discovered a new form of malware used to steal banking information and credit card information from the smartphones of Android users that can override the new security features Android had installed in the Android OS version 6 specifically to combat this type of threat and other similar threats.
The new malware which is a modification of the Gugi banking malware starts, as with so many attacks by luring the victim into clicking on a link in a legitimate appearing text message that results in the initial downloading of the malware. Once it is downloaded, however, the malware creates a display on your screen indicating the need for additional rights to work with graphics and windows. If the victim clicks on the only link provided, another screen asks them to authorize app overlay and then other permissions. If the victim realizes what is going on and does not provide the requested permissions, the malware blocks the entire smartphone. The only way to fix the problem at this point is to reboot the smartphone in safe mode and attempt to remove the malware, which is difficult to do.
If the malware does get fully installed with all of the permissions it requires, it enables the cybercriminal to take total control of the victim’s electronic banking and can readily empty his or her accounts.
Along with the basic online and mobile banking precautions I urged you to take in my Scam of the day for June 3, 2016, you can protect yourself from the Gugi malware by never just automatically giving rights and permissions when an app requests you to do so. Always evaluate why the app would need such permissions.
As always, the two most important things to do to protect yourself from any cybersecurity threat to your mobile phone is to follow my advice of “trust me, you can’t trust anyone” and never click on links regardless of who appears to be sending them until you have absolutely confirmed that the links are legitimate. Also, make sure you that you not only have security software on all of your mobile devices, but that you keep the security software updated with the latest security patches as soon as they are available.