The Anatomy of Smishing Attacks and How to Avoid Them
Cybercriminals and nation-state actors continue to launch smishing attacks to steal credentials and distribute malware, according to Michael Marriott, Senior Strategy and Research Analyst at Digital Shadows. Marriott describes a new Android banking Trojan called “AbereBot” that’s being sold on cybercriminal forums. Since the Trojan targets mobile devices, it’s distributed via text messages.
“This is just one recent example, and barely a month goes by without another Android malware making news headlines,” Marriott says. “Back in January, for example, FluBot was reported to have spread quickly and significantly across targets. This malware was installed by SMS, in this case purporting to be from a delivery company providing a package tracking link. Users were prompted to download an application that would enable them to track the package, however, the malicious application enabled the attacker to capture banking credentials.”
Marriott cites advice from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on how to avoid falling for these scams:
- “Only download apps from App Stores, such as the Android Play Store.
- “If you suspect you have clicked on a malicious link, reset your device to factory settings and reset credentials of any accounts that you have entered since the infection.
- “Even non-Android users should be cautious of clicking on links that may be attempting to capture credentials.
- “Beware of unsolicited texts using high pressure tactics that introduce urgency, such as closing accounts or transferring funds, for example. When in doubt, go to the full website of the company and check notifications for your accounts there.
- “Beware of anything that forces you to log in to unrelated services, such as entering banking credentials to receive a package.
- “Always treat a message offering ‘something for nothing,’ such as winning money or prizes, as suspect, especially when you need to provide financial or other sensitive information.”