Nick Savvides, Chief Technology Officer at Symantec, has discussed the scam with Australian media outlet Nine, describing such as a “classic, hard sell, pump and dump type spam.”
Australians have increasingly become the target of an SMS-based bitcoin mining scam. The scam entices users with fictional free bitcoins that supposedly can be located at two shortened URLs; however, if visited, the USR will hijack that user’s computing power for the purpose of mining cryptocurrency on behalf of the scammers.
Thousands of Australians Have Been Targeted by an SMS Scam Offering Free Bitcoins to Prospective Victims
Mr. Savvides states that the two links contained in the text messages take visitors to a site that “constantly asks you to sign up for their service. What the scammers are trying to do is trick you into handing over your CPU cycles so you can mine bitcoins for them. And in the process, they want you to hand over your personal information so they can use that to conduct further scams on you.”
Mr. Savvides asserts that many individuals are less cautious when opening links sent to them via SMS than when browsing the internet, suggesting that such has lead to a recent proliferation of SMS-based scams. “When you get a text message you implicitly trust your device more because you don’t expect your attackers to be sending you SMS’ with links to malware or scams,” Savvides explains. “People are conditioned to be suspicious of ‘too good to be true’ emails because the warnings have been around for a long time. Mr. Savvides states that today, “we all get SMS notifications from random numbers – if a taxi pulls up out the front of my place I get a notification from a random number.”
According to Mr. Savvides, many Australians are failing to exercise basic security precautions with regards to mobile devices, who states that “very few people are downloading filtering technologies or safeguards to protect their mobile devices.” In his opinion, “this problem is going to get a lot worse in the next couple years because… we trust our devices.”
Malaysian Authorities Are Currently Investigating “One of the Largest Leaks of Customer Data in Asia,” According to Reuters
In other news, the personal data of 46 million Malaysian mobile phone subscribers has been made available online in exchange for just one bitcoin. The breach is estimated to have affected “almost the entire population of Malaysia.”
“We have identified several potential sources of the leak and we should be able to complete the probe soon,” Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Minister, Salleh Keruak stated.