A new Android based Trojan horse infection is behind the latest rash of Spam text messages.
The Trojan horse called SpamSoldier infects smartphones running the Android operating system and blurts out hundreds of SMS messages without the user’s knowledge. The virus is mostly spread through a smartphone via seemingly innocent adverts or texts that claim to offer free versions of popular paid-for games.
When an individual downloads what they think may be a popular game like Angry Birds Space and Need for Speed: Most Wanted, they actually open up the Trojan installer app which then infects the smartphone. Once installed, the Trojan then works to make sure you become the vector for other smartphones by using your phone to send out the fake messages. There have been a few cases of an actual game install, but the installation was made to cover up and fool the smartphone user as the Trojan sends out hundreds of messages.
Cloudmark Incorporated, which operates as a major anti-Spam software maker, says that this latest Trojan infection could get out of hand since so many individuals carry smartphones. "With the rising popularity of text messaging, U.S. consumers of all ages are susceptible to receiving unwanted text messages," said Neil Cook, CTO of Cloudmark. "There is a tremendous opportunity to help consumers learn how to effectively combat Spam and utilize the resources their mobile providers offer."
Cloudmark researcher Andrew Conway further notes that users infected phone can and will send out literally thousands of Spam SMS and it will also give out your private information. “A user's phone will be used to silently send out thousands of Spam SMS messages without permission to lists of victim phone numbers that the malware automatically downloads from a command-and-control server.” Conway further added that Cloudmark has seen peak rate of over 500 thousand Spam SMS per day so far.
Cloudmark says that the Trojan seems to be coming from .mobi servers in Hong Kong and that it first appeared in October of 2012. The Trojan originally appeared as an anti-SMS Spam program before they changed the look to be a game download. According to Cloudmark this is the first threat as the "first functioning Android botnet sending SMS spam.”