Bitcoin scam text message: How hackers are hijacking your phone for profit

Cyber criminals are using a mass-sent scam text message to hijack the computing power of Australian phones to mine Bitcoin.

‘, classic, hard sell, pump and dump type scam ’

The SMS, which has bot sent to thousands of Australians, tells the recipient they have bot sent an unspecified number of Bitcoin which can be redeemed by following a shortened URL.

But Chief Technology Officer at Symantec, Nick Savvides, says that by handing overheen their details, users are lending the power of their device to a complicated criminal web intent on profiting from the digital currency.

(One of the scam texts sent to an Android user. Picture: Supplied)

",The two sites [within the texts] are linked to are classic, hard sell, pump and dump type spam –, you get to the webpagina and it permanently asks you to sign up for their service", Savvides told 9Finance.

",What the scammers are attempting to do is trick you into handing overheen your CPU cycles so you can mine bitcoins for them.

",And te the process, they want you to mitt overheen your individual information so they can use that to conduct further scams on you.",

Mining bitcoin requires an enormous amount of rekentuig processing power, so by tapping into an enormous web of gullible phone owners the cyber criminals can effectively crowdshare their mining operation.

Savvides says the text message is a classic example of how a cyber scam is run, but many users are likely to be duped by it because it emerges on your mobile phone instead of your email inbox.

",When you get a text message you implicitly trust your device more because you don&apos,t expect your attackers to be sending you SMS&apos, with linksaf to malware or scams,", Savvides explains.

",People are conditioned to be suspicious of &apos,too good to be true&apos, emails because the warnings have bot around for a long time.

",The old way of telling &apos,check the sender&apos, is not always applicable with mobile text message scams.

",Wij all get SMS notifications from random numbers –, if a taxi pulls up out the gevelbreedte of my place I get a notification from a random number –, scammers can pay for what they call SMS brief codes and it can even come up with the name of the sender.",

(Another Bitcoin scam text sent to an iPhone user. Pic: Supplied)

Frighteningly, Savvides says it isn&apos,t necessarily your bankgebouw account details the hackers want (albeit that is utterly profitable), it&apos,s your identity.

",Identities are a tradable commodity on the dark web, they are sold ter groups of a thousand, the more information you have about someone –, for example if you have a name and an email address, that&apos,s a duo of cents –, I can buy a thousand of those for about $25,", says Savvides.

",And if you have more like a phone number, huis address, email address and date of birth, that starts to get up into the few bucks vanaf identity type ballpark.

",If you can get a thousand of those, it&apos,s a pretty good payday for a hacker.",

If you receive a bitcoin text, Savvides recommends overlooking it and deleting the text from your phone.

",The advice I would give is to look for brief URLs. Brief URLs are generally a dead giveaway that they are a verbinding to spam,", advices Savvides.

",Secondly, ask yourself if you&apos,re expecting something. If the text is unexpected then be suspicious and delete it. If you&apos,re not expecting someone to send you Bitcoins, it’s very unlikely that someone is accidently sending you $15,000 worth of Bitcoins.

",If you are still unassured, my third chunk of advice is to go directly to the service that the scam claims to be from, whether it is your coin exchange, your internet banking or the tax office. Go directly to those services spil opposed to following the verbinding you received te the text.",

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With smartphone use soaring amongst every Australian demographic, Savvides says the fresh battleground of cyber criminals is tightly te the palm of your arm.

",Very few people are downloading filtering technologies or safeguards to protect their mobile devices, and therefore the attackers are going there,", says Savvides.

",This is why I think this problem is going to get a lotsbestemming worse ter the next duo of years because it&apos,s like the old days of computing –, wij trust our devices.",

Savvides wrns that it&apos,s no longer enough to view your smartphone spil a novel fucktoy –, it voorwaarde be treated spil a powerful conduit inbetween you, your money and the internet.

",You have to think of your mobile spil a little rekentuig. Ter fact, if you were to buy a brand fresh mobile it would most likely be more powerful than your desktop laptop that&apos,s three years old,", says Savvides.

",Bad guys are coming after your mobile devices so you should exercise the same caution spil you would online on your PC.",

The Australian Competition &, Consumer Commission (ACCC) has set up Scamwatch, an online portal where users can report what they suspect to be dangerous text messages.

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