A recent report dished out by the mobile security company, Lookout, at DEFCON has revealed that there is a massive Android malware industry in Russia. So huge is the overall size of this industry that it accounts for the bulk of total SMS-based malware.
According to the research and findings of Lookout, only 10 organizations in Russia are responsible for 60% of the total SMS malware emanating from Russia. These companies have apparently set up ‘Malware HQs’ and operate in a highly sophisticated manner.
Typically, these malware companies develop an Android app which appears perfectly benign. At the same time, they legally register a short code with the local telecom authorities. Now, these companies start advertising their apps through different methods, such as advertisement on social media and such.
This usually results in a significant number of users jumping the bandwagon and downloading the app. The app comes packed with malware and as soon as the user installs it on his device, the malware is also installed. This malware operates by sending out multiple messages to the short code registered by the company.
The messages sent to the specific short code are premium, and they cost between $3 and $20. All this happens with the user having no clue that his smartphone has been compromised and his account is being drained of money. Through this entire scam, the malware companies in Russia are in for a gold rush. The worst part is that the apps marketed by these companies are customized so that user considers them as authentic and falls for the scam rather easily.