The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has revealed that there is a new high-risk, critical and Short Messaging Service-based malware, TangleBot, infecting Android mobile devices.
TangleBot which has the capability of gaining control to mobile devices is similar to the notorious FlutBot SMS Android malware.
Nigerian Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT) disclosed this in an advisory made available to the Commission’s New Media and Information Security Department.
The advisory said the TangleBot Android malware is installed when an unsuspecting user clicks on a malicious link disguised as COVID-19 vaccination appointment-related information in an SMS message or information about fake local power outages that are due to occur.
It said The aim behind both or either of the messages (on COVID-19 or impending power outages) is to encourage potential victims to follow a link that supposedly offers detailed information. Once at the page, users are asked to update applications such as Adobe Flash Player to view the page’s content by going through nine (9) dialogue boxes to give acceptance to different permissions that will allow the malware operators initiate the malware configuration process.
On compliance to the above, TangleBot gains access to several different permissions when installed on a device, allowing it to eavesdrop on user communications. The malware then steals sensitive data stored on the device and monitors almost every user activity, including camera use, audio conversations, and location, among other things.
Furthermore, the malware takes complete control of the targeted device, including access to banking data, and can reach the deepest recesses of the Android operating system.
The NCC, therefore, urge millions of telecom consumers in Nigeria to be wary of such wiles of cyber criminals, whose intent is to defraud unsuspecting Internet users.
In order to ensure maximum protection for Internet users in the country, the ngCERT has offered a number of preventive measures to be taken by the consumers.
Some of the preventive measures offered by ngCERT to protect internet users include to refrain from opening Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) from unknown sources while using your mobile devices.
Additionally, telecom consumers are also urged never to respond or send reply to messages or call back a phone number that is associated with the text that they are unaware of. Should any telecom consumer or Internet user become curious and wish to ascertain the authenticity of any call or messages and wish to probe the incident, such persons may do a web search of both the number and the message content.
The NCC further reiterates that mobile users are under obligation to practice safe messaging practices and avoid clicking on any links in texts, even if they appear to come from a legitimate contact. Indeed, it is important to be judicious when downloading apps by reading install prompts closely, looking out for information regarding rights and privileges that the app may request.
The Commission expresses its commitment to continuously inform and educate mobile telephony subscribers and Internet users in Nigeria, on cyber risks, however they may manifest. This is to insulate them from the dangers and losses arising from cybercrimes of any kind.