Android Worm Hits US, Spreads Via Text Message

Most users know better than to click strange links online, but when a strange link comes from a trusted friend, that's more of a marginal case. The latest Android worm, known as Selfmite.b, spreads by texting every contact in an unsuspecting user's list.

Based on research from Dublin-based security firm AdaptiveMobile, Selfmite.b is a follow-up to a similar SMS worm called Selfmite, which appeared back in June. Like its predecessor, Selfmite.b tricks users into clicking on bogus links that install malicious software on their Android phones. At present, the malware has made its way to at least 100 devices in 16 countries, including Canada, China, India, Russia and the United States.

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This isn't to say that Selfmite.b is particularly sophisticated. Once your phone is infected, it sends texts to your contacts with inviting phrases such as "Hey, try it, its very fine" or "Hi buddy, try this, its amazing u know," along with a shortened URL. (If your friends actually talk like this, consider getting new friends.)

The URLs lead to compromised websites that will download Selfmite.b onto your phone and begin the process anew. What's worse is that Selfmite.b can sign you up for expensive online subscriptions, not to mention exorbitant texting bills (and potential ire from your wireless carrier) for mass spam texts.

Avoiding the scam is incredibly easy, since all you have to do is not click on suspicious links, even if they're from otherwise-trusted sources. If you've already contracted Selfmite.b, any Android antivirus program that's worth its salt will get rid of it. Just make sure to remind your more gullible friends not to click on anything that you sent recently.

Marshall Honorof is a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at mhonorof@tomsguide.com. Follow him @marshallhonorof and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • Panagiotis Kougioumtzis
    Nothing is secure on the Internet. We're far from the truth if we believe that only Windows users are vulnerable to online threats!
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