SecurityBrief New Zealand logo
New Zealand's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Scam Alert: Flubot malware hits New Zealand

By Shannon Williams
Thu 30 Sep 2021

The New Zealand telecommunications sector is warning customers of a new scam text message alert that is showing up in large numbers in New Zealand.

Pretending to be an alert from a courier company, the text asks users to click on a link or download an app to get information about delivery of a parcel.

Telecommunications Forum chief executive Paul Brislen says the link is not genuine and indications are that customers may find their personal details at risk if they do click on the link. 

"The payload appears to resend the text via the users address book and also asks for bank information. Needless to say at a time when everyone is using courier delivery services, this has the potential to cause a lot of damage," he says.

Customers who have already downloaded the app may need to restore their phone to basic factory settings in order to remove the malware and then change passwords to any apps you may have been logged in to at the time as a precaution.

"Anyone who receive the text message should just delete it," Brislen says. "Infection only occurs if the user clicks on the link or installs the app."

The TCF and the wider telco industry is working with the Department of Internal Affairs and CERT NZ to block the links to the malware. 

Researchers at NortonLifeLock have been tracking FluBot since it first began its spread across Europe in April 2021. 

The mobile malware infects and steals data from the phones of unsuspecting victims, which NortonLifeLock says highlights the importance of downloading comprehensive security to help keep devices and data safe. 

What is FluBot?

The malware of the moment, grabbing the headlines, is the aptly named FluBot. It's a banking trojan, which means it's designed to appear legitimate to the receiver. It sends SMS messages to unsuspecting targets, claiming that they missed a call or have a new voicemail, on some occasions impersonating well-known institutions, like trusted parcel delivery services or banks. Once someone unsuspectingly clicks on the link, they've unfortunately given FluBot access to their phone and data. Now installed, it will access all the personal information it can gather - passwords, banking information, credit card details and it can even steal the phones contacts details to spread to other phones.  

While mostly targeting Android devices, iOS users are not exempt from receiving a malicious FluBot SMS.The good thing: iOS apps can normally only be downloaded via the official Apple App store which makes it much harder for the malware to land on iPhones and iPads. Android users on the other hand need to be more careful as the app will install itself on phones that have enabled side loading, meaning that their owners allow the installation from apps outside of the Google Play store. 

How does FluBot work exactly? 

According to NortonLifeLock, the successful spread of this malware can be attributed to its distribution and timing, as a direct result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people's digital lives.         

The cyber criminals first step is to send a SMS to thousands of mobile devices. It could be an SMS advising that you've received a voicemail, detailing a specific time and date for the missed call and asking you to click the link to access the recording. The other common ruse is to encourage you to click a link so you can apparently see the location of your parcel. 

Due to COVID-19, more people than ever are using online shops to buy their goods, so receiving a parcel tracking link appears very plausible.          

The links and SMS are disguised to appear as though they come from a familiar and trusted company. However once clicked, they redirect the victim to a webpage. The webpage is designed to look legitimate to encourage the victim to believe they've been brought to the official company website. A popup prompt will appear and ask the victim to download and install an app. This is a malicious app and can be highly dangerous for your personal data. The disguised app will most likely ask for accessibility permissions, in order to grant itself even more permissions.        

At that point, the malicious app is now active, armed, and running in the background of the victims smartphone.   

It will now start doing the following:                    

  • Spreading further by accessing the phone's contact list                     
  • Gathering all the sensitive information it can get         
     

FluBot has yet another goal - monitoring which apps the victim opens. If it recognises a target app, the malware jumps into action by serving overlays that look like the real thing, but these are designed to collect the victims data. The final step is to send all the collected user details back to the cybercriminals. 

What can you do to help protect yourself against FluBot? 

NortonLifeLock says it is worth maintaining good mobile hygiene - keep your devices updated with the latest operating system, use strong passwords combined with multi-factor authentication and of course, use comprehensive security to help keep your devices and data safe. 

  • If you are on an Android device, disable Install Unknown Apps.A lot of malicious apps find their way on your phone outside of the official Google Play store, but from unknown sources. While it might be tempting to install the occasional app that you can't find in the official app store, if you're willing to take the risk and trust the source, make sure to disable the feature again afterwards, to reduce any ongoing security risk. 
  • Never open links that seem suspicious. Check to make sure that the mail is really from the sender it claims to be. If it promises things that seem to be too good to be true, they probably are. 
  • Don't grant apps broad permissions, only let them access what they need to function. Avoid any apps that ask for more data than necessary. As can be seen in the FluBot case, broad permissions can lead to the malware being able to perform their unwanted tasks and spread themselves further. 

 

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cybersecurity
What every CISO must answer to enable a best-in-class security operations program
It has been widely reported recently that South Australian government employees have been the victims of a cyberattack.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
The post-pandemic workforce requires secure IAM capabilities
HID Global discusses what identity and access management means for organisations in today's convoluted digital world.
Story image
BYOD / Bring Your Own Device
How zero trust can lead the battle against ransomware
SecOps teams champion a zero trust strategy to support the fight against the escalating risk of cybercrime and help monitor threat actors across a network.
Story image
Microsoft
Elevation of Privilege the top 2021 Microsoft vulnerability
BeyondTrust has released its 2022 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report, finding that Elevation of Privilege is the top vulnerability category for the second consecutive year.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
Cloud Security
Aqua Security createa unified scanner for cloud native security
“By integrating more cloud native scanning targets into Trivy, such as Kubernetes, we are simplifying cloud native security."
Story image
Ponemon Institute
Email revealed to be riskiest channel for data loss
More than half (60%) of organisations experienced data loss or exfiltration caused by an employee mistake on email in the last 12 months.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity prompts upgrade for 1.3 billion electricity meters
ABI Research finds Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and cybersecurity concerns are prompting the upgrade of 1.3 billion electricity meters by 2027.
Story image
Ransomware
APAC ranks third-highest region targeted by ransomware
Asia Pacific has ranked the third-highest region globally to be targeted by ransomware, according to cybersecurity firm Group-IB.
Story image
Phishing
Vishing attacks reach all time high - Agari and PhishLabs
"Hybrid vishing campaigns continue to generate stunning numbers, representing 26.1% of total share in volume so far in 2022."
Story image
Customer experience
Gartner recognises Okta for abilities in Access Management
Okta has announced it has been recognised as a Customers' Choice for the fourth time in a row in the Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer" report.
Story image
Apricorn
Data backup plans inadequate, data still at risk - study
The Apricorn 2022 Global IT Security Survey revealed that while the majority organisations have data backup plans in place, data for many are at risk.
Story image
Training
Infosec unveils role-guided cybersecurity training roadmaps
Infosec Skills Roles maps hands-on training and certifications to the 12 most in-demand cybersecurity roles to maximise training efficiency.
Story image
New Relic
New Relic launches vulnerability management platform
New Relic has introduced New Relic Vulnerability Management to help organisations find and address security risks faster and with greater precision.
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Ransomware
APAC organisations fail to disclose ransomware breaches
85% of organisations in APAC were breached by ransomware at least once in the past five years, but only 28% publicly disclosed the incident.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
RedShield leverages AWS to scale cybersecurity services
"Working with AWS gives RedShield the ability to mitigate significant application layer DDoS attacks, helping leaders adopt best practices and security architectures."
Story image
Check Point
Check Point and CCTV expert join forces to boost protection
The partnership will involve Check Point Quantum IoT Protect Nano Agent being embedded in Provision-ISR’s CCTV cameras for on-device runtime protection.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Gartner reveals top three tech trends for banks this year
Gartner says generative artificial intelligence, autonomic systems and privacy-enhancing computation are gaining traction in banking and investment services.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Training
Trojan cyber attacks hitting SMBs harder than ever - Kaspersky
In 2022 the number of Trojan-PSW detections increased by almost a quarter compared to the same period in 2021 to reach 4,003,323.
Story image
Employment
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Accenture - a collective security approach a driving factor for cyber resilience
With the approaching Davos World Economic Forum upon us, it is even more imperative to discuss the impact of cybersecurity on business operations leading into the future.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Managed service provider
Barracuda MSP Day 2022 highlights MSP opportunities
Barracuda Networks has released a report showing global services-related MSP revenue is set to increase by more than a third in 2022 compared to 2021.
Story image
Phishing
WhatsApp and QR codes the next scam threat - report
KnowBe4 has warned it expects to see an increase in QR Codes and the WhatsApp chat platform being used for phishing and other scams. 
Story image
Kubernetes
Sysdig unveils new Kubernetes troubleshooting and cloud innovations
Sysdig has introduced two new innovations that look to help bolster cloud services and simplify Kubernetes troubleshooting.
Story image
SaaS
Maintaining secure systems with expectations of flexible work
Most office workers feel they've proved they can work successfully from home, and as much as employers try, things aren't going back to the way they were anytime soon.
Story image
Malware
New vulnerabilities found in Nuspire’s Q1 2022 Threat Report
“Threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics and these exploits tend to get industry attention, but the threat posed by older and attacks still persists."
Story image
Data Protection
Information management capabilities to meet privacy requirements
Organisations with customers or operations across more than one country face a spate of new and proposed privacy and data protection laws.
Story image
Ransomware
Alarming surge in Conti Ransomware Group activity - report
A new report has identified a 7.6 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities tied to ransomware in Q1 2022.
Darktrace
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Supply chain
Jetstack promotes better security with supply chain toolkit
The web-based resource is designed to help organisations evaluate and plan the crucial steps they need to establish effective software supply chain security.
Story image
Qualys
Qualys updates Cloud Platform solution with rapid remediation
The new update is designed to enable organisations to fix asset misconfigurations, patch OS and third-party applications, and deploy custom software.
Story image
Cyber attacks
Devastating cyber attacks expected to hit energy sector
Energy executives anticipate life, property, and environment-compromising cyber attacks on the sector within the next two years.
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
Surveillance
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.
Story image
Malware
'Alarming' rise in ransomware threats - Verizon report
As criminals look to leverage increasingly sophisticated forms of malware, it is ransomware that continues to prove particularly successful.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Asia Pacific plagued by sophisticated bad bots - report
The three most common bot attacks were account takeover, content or price scraping, and scalping to obtain limited-availability items.
Story image
Microsoft
Global cybersecurity insurance market worth $11.5b this year
Future Market Insights finds the cybersecurity insurance market is expected to reach USD$11.5 billion in 2022, growing to $61.2 billion in 10 years.
Story image
Cybersecurity
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
Migration
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Comcast to use ThreatQuotient for cybersecurity operations
Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal and SKY Group, has chosen ThreatQ Platform and ThreatQ Investigations to meet their cybersecurity needs.
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.