FBI Warns Android Users About Malware

The agency offers steps users can take to keep themselves safe.

The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has issued a new warning for smartphone users about malware that targets the Android platform. Specifically, the agency warned about two threats—Loozfon and FinFisher.

The IC3 warning reads, "The IC3 has been made aware of various malware attacking Android operating systems for mobile devices. Some of the latest known versions of this type of malware are Loozfon and FinFisher. Loozfon is an information-stealing piece of malware. Criminals use different variants to lure the victims. One version is a work-at-home opportunity that promises a profitable payday just for sending out email. A link within these advertisements leads to a website that is designed to push Loozfon on the user's device. The malicious application steals contact details from the user’s address book and the infected device's phone number."

Kevin Parrish from Tom's Hardware recalled," During the summer, Symantec said [Loozfon] targets female Android users in Japan. 'If this trick does not work, the criminal group has another trick up its sleeve. It also sends spam that states that the sender of the email can introduce the recipient to wealthy men. When the link included in the body of the email is clicked, the malware is automatically downloaded onto the device,' the firm said."

Writing for InsideMobileApps, Emanuel Maiberg said that the FBI warning is a little confusing because it specifically mentions Android, but FinFisher can also exploit iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. He added, "Most confusing is the timing of the IC3 issued warning, as it doesn’t follow any spike in malware activity that we’re aware of at this time."

In a separate but related story, TGDaily's Emma Woollacott reported that Google is said to be working on a new malware scanner for Google Play. She quoted security expert Graham Cluley, who said, "Our examination of the new code in Google Play suggests that the company is building an API framework for virus-scanning in the future, and that the functionality will not be available until at least API level 17 (which will be supported in the version of the Android operating system after Android 4.1 (Jelly bean)." He continued, "This functionality would also make use it seems of the Google Safe Browsing API."

Tags: Android, smartphone, malware, Security Advisory, FBI

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