By Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The most popular mobile platform in the country is the target of a virus that experts say is a new kind of attack. It’s a reminder that our smartphones and tablets aren’t immune from computer criminals.
This Trojan is called ‘NotCompatible.’ It tricks Android users who visit a compromised website into downloading what appears to be a system update.
“This malware doesn’t actually compromise any of your personal information, so none of your account information or your credit card number, as far as we’ve been able to determine,” says Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer at the mobile security firm Lookout. “But what it does do is turn your phone into a relay — a tunnel, if you will — so the attackers can actually start bouncing network data off your phone.”
He says fraudsters would be interested in this kind of thing to help hide the source of their crimes. For instance, routing data through your device to fool the algorithms designed to protect merchants from such nefarious acts.
“The other potential use for this is if you have a phone that’s connected to an internal corporate or government network, the attacker could potentially use that phone to access sensitive resources inside the wall of the network.”
He says they’ve been able to take down a number of servers hosting the virus, but this may be the opening salvo of a mobile malware offensive. AVG, Lookout, and Avast are well-rated — and free — anti-virus choices for your device.