Android smartphones have become a popular target for criminal hackers looking to steal personal information and break into bank accounts. Now, researchers at the Slovakian security firm ESET say they’ve discovered a new strain of malicious Android software called Spy.Agent.SI that could be particularly dangerous to users.
The malware, targeting 20 of the largest banks in New Zealand, Australia, and Turkey, locks up the device’s screen unless users give up their login credentials. The malware can also capture text authentication codes sent out by banks – compromising two-factor authentication.
Hackers disguised the malware as a version of Adobe Flash Player, a widely used tool that runs video and animations on Internet browsers. As with most malicious tools that target Android devices, Spy.Agent.SI only impacts users that download their software from unofficial third-party mobile application stores instead of Google Play.
The moral of this story is simple: Don’t install software from any source other than Google Play. If you do, you will be the one to suffer the consequences.