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Android worm, Selfmite, discovered

Android_Robot_100Android is one of several operating systems such as, Windows and iOS, which runs mostly on mobile devices.  We all know mobile devices are not immune from malware and AdaptiveMobile confirmed last week in a blog post of a worm called Selfmite on Android smartphones.  A worm is a form of malware which replicates itself on different machines, servers, or devices.

Selfmite was able to replicate using SMS (text messages).   A shortened goo.gl URL was sent in a text message which actually pointed to the Selfmite worm.  If the user clicked on the link a message appeared asking to download and install a package called ‘The self timer’.  Once the user agrees to installing, the malware begins to search for 20 contacts on the phone and sends a text message to each of them with the same goo.gl shortened URL and the cycle continues if the contacts click on the link.  These text messages happened without the user’s knowledge which could lead to a higher phone bill if the user has a limited number of text messages per month.

The good news is once the worm was discovered it was reported to Google who has disabled the goo.gl URL.  This discovery is a reminder of our responsibility in helping to protect our devices.  Know what operating systems are running on your devices so you will quickly know if your devices are affected when you hear of new threats.  As always, be careful when clicking links in unsolicited emails and text messages.  Read the article, Are shorten URLs safe? to see how to test a shorten URL’s location before actually going there.

Image by Google / CC by 3.0

 

Christina Bonds

Christina Bonds is an Application Specialist in the Web Technology department at Elon University.

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