Android smartphone owners are urged to be extra careful when downloading files to their phones after a vicious new bug was discovered that can wreak havoc on devices. This latest threat, which was seen by the Cleafy security team, uses a type of malware named BRATA which has the ability to monitor users when they access their bank accounts. Cyberthieves can then use this vital data to steal money without the person knowing they were hacked.
To make matters worse, once the attack is done, crooks cover their tracks by forcing the infected device to perform a full factory reset. This will then delete everything stored on the phone and there is nothing the owner can do to stop it.
According to Cleafy, BRATA was first discovered by Kaspersky security researchers in 2019 and targeted smartphone owners in Brazil. Now, before you breathe a huge sigh of relief that this malware is safely hidden on the other side of the planet, that is no longer the case.
BRATA is spreading incredibly fast and has now crossed the Atlantic with users in the UK, Poland and Italy all seen as BRATA’s next targets.
This bug is also evolving at a rapid pace with new features that make it harder to detect and more devastating once it infects a phone.
Although this attack looks terrifying, there is a fairly simple way to avoid falling victim to it. It appears that crooks are distributing BRATA via download and unlike many other forms of malware, it has not yet been found on official app stores such as Google Play.
This means that as long as you stick to well-known and trusted platforms when installing apps and files, you should be safe. Where you need to be vigilant is when you receive a text message or a WhatsApp chat asking you to download a file to your device, as it could make you a target.
Speaking about the new attack, Cleafy said, “A new BRATA variant started circulating last December. Our research shows that it was distributed via a downloader to avoid detection by antivirus solutions.
“The target list now contains other banks and financial institutions in the UK (new), Poland (new), Italy and LATAM.
“Based on our findings, we can expect BRATA to continue undetected and to continue developing new features.”