New Malware Uses COVID-19 Misinformation to Target Android Users

Beware this recent smishing scam involving false vaccine appointments and misinformation to trick you into surrendering your personal data.

tanglebot malware

TangleBot malware uses recent worries about COVID-19 to gain personal information about users. Cyberattackers have been trying to lure users by tricking them with potentially important information related to COVID-19 for a while now.

This may include an insurance plan, vaccination appointment, and many other creative strategies through malvertising, phishing, and more.

Now, targeting Android smartphones using smishing (phishing via SMS) is becoming prevalent.

What Is TangleBot SMS Malware?

Similar to Flubot, TangleBot utilizes smishing to fool users and gain access to an Android phone.

The primary aim of the malware is to steal financial information and personal data by taking control of various device functions, reports Cloudmark.

To lure a victim, the attackers start by sending a COVID-19-related SMS that tells you about a vaccination booking, a new regulation for COVID-19, and other types of alerts. When you click on the link, it takes you to a page that recommends updating your Adobe Flash Player. And then you end up installing malware on your Android smartphone.

Once affected, the TangleBot malware prompts you to give accessibility permissions through Settings, which will enable it to record and observe your personal information and bank credentials.

It can manage phone calls, send messages, access a camera, microphone, and observe other activities on your device. So this makes it perilous malware.

Related: How to Avoid Falling Victim to COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

How to Stay Safe From TangleBot Malware

You need to be particularly cautious about receiving messages from strangers, be them purporting to be medical institutions, insurance companies, or any other entities. It may look like a harmless SMS but can mean you end up being a victim of smishing, risking your personal and financial information.

Don’t click on links in SMS messages.

If you’re concerned you really have missed a delivery, appointment, or similar, check with official services through other means. Rely on official apps to track any deliveries, COVID-19 vaccination bookings, and others.

Additionally, install apps from the official Play Store. If something prompts you to install an application outside the Play Store, you need to avoid that.

laptop with a mask on it.
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