A new tsunami of fake text messages (smishing) is on its way. The Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT) and the CCB fear that mobile phone users will be inundated with dangerous text messages in the coming days. It all started last weekend with a suspicious text message that appeared to come from bpost. Some 9,000 users clicked on the link that was sent to their mobile phones and downloaded an application. As a result, their device has been infected with a dangerous virus that causes extensive harm and spreads rapidly to their phone contacts.
"The message this weekend was brief: "Your package is on its way, follow it here," followed by a unique link. More than 5,700 attentive internet users forwarded this message to email@example.com. Unfortunately, some 9,000 less informed users clicked on the link and proceeded to install a malicious virus," said Miguel De Bruycker, director of the CCB.
The FluBot virus has caused considerable harm in other European countries in recent weeks and is now spreading to Belgian users.
Jack Hamande, BIPT Board Member: "FluBot is a dangerous virus that steals data and uses a phone's contact list to spread. This is precisely why the number of victims is increasing exponentially in our country."
Hence, BIPT and CCB are launching an emergency appeal to mobile phone users:
- Be careful when you receive an unexpected message
If you have received this fake text message from bpost, your phone number may be included in a list that is circulating online and is being used by cybercriminals. The chances are that you will receive more smishing and phishing messages on behalf of parcel delivery services in the near future. So be careful. Cybercriminals are often more active in the run-up to a bank holiday.
- Do not click on a link contained in a text message!
If you click on the link, you will be asked to download an application. Don't do it! If you do, you will install a virus that will gain access to your personal data, such as passwords, credit card information and your complete contact list.
- Never install applications via a link that was sent by text message
Only install applications from an official app store (Google Play, App Store). When you are installing an application and you receive a message preventing the installation or a security warning, do not continue.
If you're one of the at least 9000 users who've already installed FluBot on your mobile phone, what should you do?
- Immediately reset your mobile phone to factory settings. Make sure you have a backup copy of your data before you do so.
- If you have used passwords after installing the application, you must change them.
- A text message may have been sent to all your phone contacts on your behalf. Notify them as soon as possible.