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Ransomware Now Sends Malicious Texts Through Mobile Device

By August 13, 2019May 16th, 2022Cybersecurity

If you own an Android device, there’s a new threat to be at least moderately concerned about.  It takes the form of a new ransomware family that spreads from one victim to the next with text messages that contain poisoned links to every contact on an infected device.

The ESET research team that found the software had this to say about it:

“Due to narrow targeting and flaws in both execution of the campaign and implementation of its encryption, the impact of this new ransomware is limited.

If your system is infected, the first thing it will do is raid your contacts list and send SMS text messages to everyone on it.  Anybody who clicks on the link in the SMS message will also be infected.

After sending a flurry of messages, the malware will turn its attention to your device itself. It will then set about the task of encrypting most of the files on your device.  Fortunately, the people behind this new threat prove themselves to be new to the game.”

ESET continues:

“After the ransomware sends out this batch of malicious SMSes, it encrypts most user files on the device and requests a ransom.  Due to flawed encryption, it is possible to decrypt the affected files without any assistance from the attacker.”

All in all, this issue is only of minor concern.  It’s annoying, and certainly time consuming to restore your files. However, it’s not an especially dangerous malware strain – yet, and that’s the problem.

Whomever is behind this new threat certainly has the right idea, even if they lack the technical chops to pull it off.  Skills, however, can be learned and honed.  As a first try, this effort is disturbing because it’s clever.  The moment the people who wrote the code get the technical skills to pair with that cleverness, they’re going to be genuinely dangerous.

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.