BUGLAND—For the first time, researchers have detected an active SMS trojan in the United States. The malware program, Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakeInst.ef, "dates back to February 2013 and was originally designed to operate in Russia," reports PCWorld.
"According to Kaspersky," adds InfoSecurity, "FakeInst disguises itself as an application for watching porn videos, and is capable of sending messages to premium-rate numbers. Once installed on the phone, the trojan can intercept incoming messages and then perform various actions, including steal messages, delete them or even respond to them.
"As well as sending unauthorized text messages that cost around $2 each," it continues, "the trojan can send an SMS from an infected device with a preset text to a number specified in a command and intercept incoming messages."
Kapersky Lab Expert Roman Unucheck, in a blog post today, also noted that "14 various versions of [FakeInst] have emerged," and includes in a post the names of all the countries that appear on the versions' "support list."
More problematically, Unucheck writes of the sophisticated malware:
* "FakeInst disguises itself as an application for watching porn videos. The application asks the user to agree to send a text message to purchase paid content. However, after sending the message the Trojan opens a free-access website."
* "In order to send the message, the Trojan decrypts a configuration file which contains all phone numbers and prefixes."
* "From this list, FakeInst selects the appropriate numbers and prefixes for the user’s mobile country code. For instance, for an MCC within the range 311-316 (which corresponds to the USA), the Trojan would send three messages to the number 97605, each costing about $2."
* "The Trojan also contacts its C&C server for further instructions. Of all the commands that it can receive and process, we’d like to highlight the ability to send a message with specific content to a number listed in the C&C command, and intercept incoming messages. The Trojan can do various things with incoming messages – steal all of them, delete them, or even respond to them."
He adds, "We believe that FakeInst was created by Russian-speaking cybercriminals. Firstly, its early versions were only designed to operate in Russia. Secondly, all its C&C servers are registered with and hosted at Russian providers.
“It appears that the cybercriminals have built up sufficient resources to expand their illegal business on a global scale,” Unuchek concluded.
Image: The geographical distribution of Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakeInst.ef infections, courtesy of securelist.com.