Here’s what you need to know about the ongoing Flubot scam in Ireland – and what to do if you receive a suspicious text message.
Malware that could allow criminals to steal personal data from your mobile phone is affecting Android users in Ireland, according to the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC).
The alert has been issued after receiving reports that FluBot spyware software is circulating in the country. This malware is used by malicious parties to steal passwords and sensitive data from a person’s mobile device in text message scams.
These scam messages usually contain a link to click to get the details of the missed package delivery. The link will be directed to a website imitating a legitimate distribution company site, and the user will be asked to download files that are actually banking Trojans.
We have been made aware of the Flubot scam text circulating. We want to warn our customers to take the following action if they receive a text message that looks like the one below:
Do not click on any link
️ Delete text from your phone pic.twitter.com/ZwLEnSg4Z2
— Three Ireland (@ThreeIreland) 2 June 2021
Users will be prompted to manually override and allow an untrusted app to download. According to the NCSC, spyware can be used to steal personal data, and can further be used to access a victim’s contacts to spread malicious applications through text messages.
While Apple users can also receive these texts, the NCSC said that Apple devices are not currently affected by this malware. It is downloaded as an APK file or Android application package.
However, network operators Three Ireland, Vodafone Ireland and EIR have issued a warning to all customers to be alert when receiving any text messages asking you to click on a link.
Flubot malware has been reported in Europe in recent months, and the UK’s National Cyber Security Center issued an alert about it in April.
What can I do if I get one of these texts?
If you receive any suspicious message, NCSC advises that you do not click on the link within the text and delete the message.
If you are expecting delivery and are not sure whether the message is valid or not, check the details through the official website of the company you ordered or the delivery company you are using.
If you clicked on the link and installed a malware app, you will need to do a factory reset on the device. Then when restoring a backup, don’t restore anything that was created after installing the malicious app. Reset the password on any accounts you use after installing the app, and if you use the same password on other accounts, change these as well.
Scams targeting smartphone users have increased in recent months with texts coming from delivery companies or government institutions.
To avoid falling prey to these types of scams, advise Dr. Gareth Norris and Alexandra Brooks of Aberystwyth University take the time to look properly on the content of any messages you receive.
This includes looking for language errors and strange descriptions, asking if it’s normal for this company to communicate with you via text, and checking the sites you’ve bought for the distribution companies they use. Or even calling the company text that is claimed to help clear things up.
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