On Your Side Alert: Spam Soldier - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

On Your Side Alert: Spam Soldier

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If you have a Smart Phone, there's a warning you need to know about. Crooks are sending out dangerous text messages hoping you'll click. If you do, it can lead to a world of trouble. Cyber experts are warning about a spam attack called a Spam Soldier.

"The Spam Soldier spreads itself through text messages," explained DJ Rivera with AVM Technology. Rivera, says most times, the text looks like it is coming from a reputable company. It may be offering a free game or claim you've won something. The trick is to get you to click a malicious link or download an App.

"What it does is that it extracts your contact and your text messages and it sends it to a remote server and it sends 100 contacts at a time. So then, your contacts will get text messages that look like they are coming from you," Rivera says.

The threat is specific to Android phones but cyber experts say there are ways to protect yourself. One of the best ways, never download an App from a text message. "For android phones, the Google Play store is the most reputable site but it also has programs that are infected with Malware," Rivera explained.

Bottom line, do your research before you download an App. The scammers set up shop all over, Rivera was able to track one down to Hong Kong. He says, read reviews and pay close attention to the permissions you grant any App. If you're targeted, crooks have a lot of control. "It has permission to read your text messages, read your phone number, read your phone model so it reads all the information about your phone," Rivera says.

If you're infected, you may not even realize it. Many times you'll actually get that game or App but hidden dangers come along with it and crooks are busy working in the back ground. Rivera says there are some ways to tell if you're infected. "Keep an eye on your cell phone bill see if there are text messages you have not been sending, another way is if your phone behaves erratically," he says.

Also remember, you can download an Anti-Virus for your Android phone. Just make sure it's legit. Cyber experts say if you think you've been infected, you may want to reset your phone to the factory settings.

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