Android smartphone owners are being urged to take extra care when downloading files onto their phones after the discovery of a vicious new bug that can wreak havoc on devices. This latest threat, which has been seen by the security team at Cleafy, uses a type of malware named BRATA which has the ability to monitor users as they access their bank accounts. Cyber thieves can then use this vital data to steal money without the person ever knowing they’ve been hacked.
To make matters worse, once the attack has taken place the crooks then cover their tracks by forcing the device that has been infected to perform a full factory reset. This will then delete everything that’s stored on the phone and there’s nothing the owner can do to stop it.
According to Cleafy, BRATA was first discovered by security researchers at Kaspersky back in 2019 with it targeting smartphone owners in Brazil. Now, before you breathe a huge sigh of relief that this malware is safely tucked on the other side of planet that’s not now the case any longer.
This bug is also evolving at a rapid rate with new features that are making it harder to detect and more devastating once it infects a phone.
Although this attack sounds terrifying there is a pretty simple way to avoid becoming a victim of it. It appears that crooks are distributing BRATA via a download and, unlike many other forms of malware, it’s not yet been found on official app stores such as Google Play.
That means as long as you keep to well-known and trusted platforms when installing applications and files you should be safe. Where you must be alert is when receiving a text message or WhatsApp chat that asks you to download a file onto your device as this 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 has been distributed through a downloader to avoid being detected by antivirus solutions.
“The target list now contains further banks and financial institutions in the UK (new), Poland (new), Italy, and LATAM.
“According to our findings, we can expect BRATA to keep staying undetected and to keep developing new features.”