An urgent warning was sent to Android users around the world by the Microsoft team, and ignoring it could be costly. The new warning came directly from the team at Microsoft’s 365 Defender Research division, which said they’ve discovered a resurgence of nasty threats called fraud malware.
These errors have the potential to sign unsuspecting users for expensive subscription plans without their knowledge or approval of payments. Microsoft says this form of billing fraud is one of the most prevalent types of malware on Android — and it continues to evolve at an alarming rate.
This type of threat was first discovered in 2017 with cyber thieves using the Joker malware to attack devices and secretly register people for small monthly payments that criminals hope they will notice. Things have advanced dramatically since then as hackers are now using a number of new tactics to hack devices and even evade internal security.
Microsoft says some attacks have the ability to intercept one-time passwords that are sent to users to make sure things stay secure and even suppress subscription-related SMS notifications. This means that the Android owner will not receive alerts indicating that he has signed up for something new and how much it costs each month.
“By subscribing to premium services, this malware can result in victims receiving significant mobile phone billing fees,” Microsoft explained in a blog post. To help Android users beat the scammers, Microsoft has now released some top tips that include staying alert when installing apps on their devices.
In fact, Microsoft says that Android owners should only download apps from the Google Play Store or other trusted sources, and they should avoid installing anything sent via text message or email because these could be scams.
It’s also a good idea to avoid giving SMS permissions, notification listener access, or access to any apps without a strong understanding of why the app needs them. Adding additional security software is also a good idea and it is also important to make sure your device is up to date with the latest security upgrades.
Even Microsoft warns that if the phone is too old and won’t get OS updates, it’s a good idea to buy a new phone.