New malware Xafecopy Trojan steals money through mobile phone

11 September 2017

A new malware Xafecopy Trojan, detected in India, steals money through victims' mobile phones, according to a report from cyber security firm Kaspersky. It has been found that around 40 per cent of the targets of the malware have been detected in India.

"Kaspersky Lab experts have uncovered a mobile malware targeting the WAP billing payment method, stealing money through victims' mobile accounts without their knowledge," the report said.

The malware is disguised as useful apps like BatteryMaster and carries out normal operations, but secretly loads malicious code onto the device.

On activation, the Xafecopy malware clicks on web pages with Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) billing - a form of mobile payment that charges costs directly to the user's mobile phone bill. The malware then silently subscribes the phone to a number of services, the report said.

The process also does not require registration of debit or credit card or setting up a user-name and password.

"Xafecopy hit more than 4,800 users in 47 countries within the space of a month, with 37.5 per cent of the attacks detected and blocked by Kaspersky Lab products targeting India, followed by Russia, Turkey and Mexico," the report said.

Experts at Kaspersky Lab also believe that cyber-criminal gangs promulgating other Trojans are sharing malware code among themselves.

"Our research suggests WAP billing attacks are on the rise. Xafecopy's attacks targeted countries where this payment method is popular. The malware has also been detected with different modifications, such as the ability to text messages from a mobile device to premium-rate phone numbers, and to delete incoming text messages to hide alerts from mobile network operators about stolen money," Kaspersky Lab senior malware analyst Roman Unuchek said, reported.

Kaspersky Lab, managing director-South Asia, Altaf Halde added that Android users need to be extremely cautious in how they download apps. "It is best not to trust third-party apps, and whatever apps users do download should be scanned locally with the Verify Apps utility. But beyond that, Android users should be running a mobile security suite on their devices."

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