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New Malware Sends Offensive Texts From Your Phone

By January 24, 2020May 9th, 2022Cybersecurity

Malware tends to be at its most effective when it exists in secret. Under the radar. This is what allows malicious code to burrow deep into an infected system and capture a wide range of data. It’s what allows cryptojacking software to quietly siphon off computer power to mine for various forms of cryptocurrency. That makes money for the malicious code’s owners. Secrecy is typically seen as a very big deal.

Then there’s the malware called Faketoken, which has recently been upgraded with enhanced capabilities that throws all that out the window. The latest version of the malware adds insult to injury by sending out offensive, expensive, or overseas text messages after milking as much money out of an infected system as it can. It’s such a departure from hacking norms that it caught researchers at Kaspersky Lab by surprise when they saw it.

Researchers have been tracking Faketoken’s ongoing development since it first made the “Top 20 Most Dangerous Banking Trojans” list in 2014.

Since that time, the code’s owners have added a raft of capabilities to the malware, including:

  • The ability to steal funds directly, rather than relying on other Trojans bundled with it to do the heavy lifting
  • Using phishing login screens and overlaid windows designed to dupe mobile users into entering their account credentials, handing them straight to the hackers
  • The ability to act as ransomware, encrypting files and demanding payment

Sending out offensive texts is an oddly amusing addition to malicious code like this. However, there may be a method to the apparent madness of the people behind the code. It is, after all, a fantastic way to advertise the code’s effectiveness.

Ultimately, the only people who know the true purpose behind this new functionality are the hackers themselves, but we may well be looking at the leading edge of a new trend in malware. Stay tuned.

Chris Forte

Chris Forte, President and CEO of Olmec Systems, has been in the MSP workspace for the past 25 years. Chris earned his Master’s Degree from West Virginia University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He was a past member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a current member of the New Jersey Power Partners and Executive Association of New Jersey, where he has previously served on its board of directors. In his spare time, Chris enjoys traveling with his family. He also admits to being a struggling golfer and avid watcher of college football and basketball. He currently lives in Boonton Township, NJ with his wife, two daughters, son, and black lab Luna.