New mobile Trojan swipes money via SMS

Kaspersky Labs, maker of a popular antivirus application, has detected a new malicious program capable of controlling a user's mobile phone account.

The Trojan called "SMS.Python.Flocker" is written in the scripting language Python, targets Symbian phones belonging to customers of an Indonesian mobile phone operators and is capable of sending SMS messages to a short number with instructions to transfer part of the money in the user's account to another account, which belongs to the cybercriminals.

The amounts transferred range from $0.45 - $0.90 for each SMS sent. The amount can quickly build up and if a large amount of phones were to be affected the amount could become quite substantial.

"Obviously, the authors of the Trojan want to make money," said Denis Maslennikov, a senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab. "It seems that the focus on financial fraud in the mobile malware industry will only get more pronounced over time. Until recently, many people thought that malicious programs that send SMS messages without the user's knowledge were a purely Russian phenomenon. Now we can see that the problem no longer affects only Russian users - it's becoming an international issue."
Kaspersky Lab recommends users to exercise caution when using a smartphone to browse the Internet and to keep antivirus databases up-to-date.

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