Scammers Use Virus To Target Smartphones

9:48 AM, Oct 15, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- The Internet Crime Complaint Center wants to warn consumers about various malware criminals are using to attack Android operating systems. 

Loozfan and FinFisher are the two latest known versions. 

IC3 says Loozfan is an information stealing malware where criminals use a variation of it to lure unsuspecting victims.  One of them is the work-at-home opportunity with the promise of a profitable  payday for sending out email. 

There is a link within these advertisements that leads to a website.  The site is designed to push Loozfan on to the user's device.  The malicious malware steals all of their information and contacts, address book and phone number from the infected mobile device.

FinFisher, a spyware, takes over the components of a mobile device.  Once criminals install it, the user's device can be remotely controlled and monitored no matter where they are located. 

FinFisher can be easily transmitted to a smartphone when the user visits a specific web link or opens a text message masquerading as a system update.

IC3 offers the following safety tips to protect your mobile device.

When purchasing a smartphone, know the features of the device, including the default setting.  Turn off features of the device not needed to minimize the attack surface of the device.

Depending on the type of phone, the operating system may have encryption available.  This can be used to protect the user's personal data in the case of loss or theft.

With the growth of the application market for mobile devices, users should look at the reviews of the developer or company who published the application.

Passcode protected your mobile device.  This is  the firs layer of physical security to protect the contents of the device.  In conjunction with the passcode, enable the screen lock feature after a few minutes of inactivity.

Obtain malware protection for your mobile device.  Look for applications that specialize in antivirus or file integrity that helps protect your device from rogue applications and malware.

Be aware of applications that enable Geo-location.  The application will track the user's location anywhere.  This application can be used for marketing, but can be used by malicious actors raising concerns of assisting a possible stalker and or burglaries.

Jailbreak or rooting is used to remove certain restrictions imposed by the device manufacturer or cell phone carrier.  This allows the user nearly unregulated control over what programs can be installed and how the device can be used.  However, this procedure often involves exploiting significant security vulnerabilities and increases the attack surface of the device.  Anytime a user, application or service runs in "unrestricted" or "system" level within an operation system, it allows any compromise to take full control of the device.

Do not allow your device to connect to unknown wireless networks.  These networks could be rogue access points that capture information passed between your device and a legitimate server.

If you decide to sell your device or trade it in, make sure you wipe the device (reset it to factory default) to avoid leaving personal data on the device.

Smartphones require updates to run applications and firmware.  If users neglect this it increases the risk of having their device hacked or compromised.

Avoid clicking on or otherwise downloading software or links from unknown sources. 

Use the same precautions on your mobile phone as you would on your computer when using the Internet.

If you have been a victim of an Internet scam or have received an email that you believe was an attempted scam, please file a complaint at

Information provided by the Internet Crime Complaint Center

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