Microsoft warns Android device users against toll fraud

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Microsoft warns users of Android devices against toll fraud

Thugs infect Android devices through mobile apps.

Hackers use malware installed through apps on smartphones and tablets running the Android operating system to buy subscriptions without the knowledge of device owners.

Microsoft security team details the scheme, called toll fraud malware – a branch of billing fraud –, in a blog post. According to these specialists, it is one of the most common types of Android malware.

To achieve their ends, hackers create mobile applications infected with viruses, sometimes even offered on the Google Play Store. Often, these are wallpaper software, photography tools, or fake antivirus software, according to Microsoft.

Once the application has been downloaded to an Android device, the malware attempts to access the cellular network by all means (therefore excluding wi-fi), and begins to subscribe to paid subscriptions. The software even provides for disabling messages sent to the user for one-time passwords – often used when signing up for a subscription for the first time to validate their identity.

< p class="e-p">In this way, the costs appear directly on the telephone bill, without the owner of the device realizing it. This scheme can lead to huge phone bills for victims, according to Microsoft.

The security research team also details in its blog post how to spot these apps. For example, once downloaded, the malware may request permission to access notifications or text messages. However, the advertised function of this software is often unrelated to these tools – allowing access to text messages for wallpapers is abusive.

Additionally, toll fraud apps often display similar-looking interfaces and icons and have a high number of negative reviews. Developer profiles are full of grammatical errors.

Android smartphone or tablet owners can also watch for infection signals: the device is at idle or overheating, the battery drains quickly, connectivity problems occur.

These schemes can fly under Google's radar with a few tactics, such as regularly updating mobile apps – the web giant has been known to chase apps that have been dormant for too long on Google Play. Store.

Microsoft also urges Android users to avoid sideloading (by third parties) software, especially if it is not also available on the official app store.

Microsoft security team finds toll fraud malware usage surpasses spyware usage for Q1 of 2022, with 34.8% of potentially harmful apps installed through the Google Play Store.

According to a Google Transparency Report, people who have the most downloaded these apps are from India, Mexico, Turkey ie, Russia and Indonesia.

With information from Mashable

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