Beware: Mobile Phones are the new targets for Spammers

January 20, 2014

This past week, I was exchanging text messages with a blud based in hometown of Melbourne but while replying a text, a message with 256 plain code took the initiative to send the message on my behalf using an artificial number. When I followed up with network operator, the number does not exist in the country it was purported to have come from and that left gobsmacked to say the least. Everyday, mobile phone users in receive fraudulent short mobile messages and fake winning presents that demands someone to pay for but in my entire life I have not come across to what I saw mid last week. After using my advanced knowledge I realized that an app I had paid for and downloaded in December was a malware developed by a company from Eastern Europe. In fact, I realized it is a notorious mode of fraud where crooks from Albania, Bulgaria and Romania are tricking apps recipients. Many variations have existed and they include a 2009 trickster who told sent me a text that my mother is in hospital in Windhoek, Namibia yet I had just spoke to her few minutes before and my mother had never even traveled to that country but at the time I was visiting the country that gave us Frankie Fredricks.

Other I have seen are fake lottery winnings and invitations to take part in fictitious competitions like the one I came across in Uganda when a gang of crooks operating in Ugandan capital Kampala tried to con me but in futile .How they got the phone number I was using remain a puzzle to date. But last week one was potentially the most harmful “malware” attack similar to “Phishing” and had never come across. In tech industry, a phishing messages most purports to be from a financial provider and always contains website links, asking the recipient to log in with their password to carry out some task but for my case it was the text I was sending being picked by the malware. When I realized unusual behavior I was seated and was able to switch of the phone, stopped sending messages to my friend in Melbourne and when I switched it on, I found the app was remotely connected to my smartphone and even without mobile data, and tried to take over my messages, which the 256 thieves can then misuse. Shockingly there are other codes that I am not going to discuss here. In my findings, number 2 stands for the two developers, number 5 stands for the number of activities its supposed to perform in its attack while number 6 is the number of weeks after which it’s supposed to be remotely updated.

Mobile phones all over the world are increasingly being used for all manners of crime ranging from fraud, unsolicited advertising and phishing scams. It’s clear that there is little mobile subscribers can do to prevent spam from reaching their phones and worse them all one is helpless when it comes to downloading apps whether free or paid up for. Eastern Europe mobile carriers are notoriously known for allowing spam proliferation due to their unlimited content policies compared to Scandinavian countries that regulate and monitor the sector and have successfully weeded the industry of buffoons. In my case, it was not difficult to tell the difference between my sent and the duplicate message on my mobile phone since there were three major differences. One the font was different, then the code 256 was separate with the numbers that it purported to have originated from and some words in original message were missing. More people fall for electronic or mobile fraud schemes than are commonly recognized and hard to detect like what happened to me. Poor them I don’t use phone to access emails or social media platforms. My end solution was to hammer the phone and applied for SIM card replacement from the mobile carrier.

Contador Harrison