Cunning new malware steals your money and then wipes your phone


Malware has been around for years. While variants have different levels of severity, they are extremely dangerous when targeted to your smartphone.

Unlike Apple’s closed ecosystem, anyone can create an app for Android with few checks and balances. Unfortunately, it also makes Android users vulnerable to malware as hackers can easily bury malicious code in an application.

An updated virus is shocking proof of that. Read on to learn how Brazilian malware moved from spyware to potentially destroying your device.

Here’s the backstory

A Remote Access Trojan (RAT), known as BRATA, has been around since 2019. At the time, it was used as spyware and targeted Android users in Brazil only. It was able to capture a victim’s screen in real time.

BRATA initially spread through the Google Play Store as a fake WhatsApp update, with over 10,000 downloads targeting about 500 users per day. The RAT eventually disappeared.

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But almost three years later, it returned as a more harmful variant. It is no longer just a spy tool. It now goes after bank details and can wipe your Android phone after retrieving sensitive information.

according to Cleafy, the new variant appeared in December and now targets users in the UK, Poland, Italy and Latin America. It will only be a matter of time before it arrives in the US

The malware spreads when users install a downloader app on their Android device. The downloader app (often fake versions of real applications) is not infected, so neither the Play Store nor your phone flags it. But the app asks for permission and when it is accepted, it installs malware.

The malware allows criminals to track your actions on your device. As soon as you open a banking app, it will be flagged, login details will be captured and sent to the thieves.

With that information, criminals can illegally steal money from your account. But the nightmare doesn’t stop there.

What can you do about it?

As if it wasn’t scary enough having your bank details stolen, the updated version of BRATA can also remotely wipe your device. It does this by enabling a kill switch. The purpose of wiping your device is to cover up their crime and make it more difficult to trace the culprits.

Here are some tips for staying safe:

While the primary method of infection is through malicious apps, BRATA has also spread through text messages. So never click on a link in an unsolicited text message. Only download apps from the official Google Play Store and check the comments and reviews of an app before installing it. Do not download applications from third party app stores. They don’t have strict controls like the official app stores, so it’s best to stay away. Have antivirus software on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Buy the best security suite for 2021 and save 80% exclusive TotalAV.com/Kim. That’s only $19 for a full year of protection.

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