Android users ATTENTION! Banks advise against SOVA Trojan; save your money from scammers

Several banks have advised Android users against a malware called SOVA. The trojan targets banking apps to steal personal information and can lead to financial losses if it manages to invade your smartphone. Since India has a large number of Android users, the banks also send advice via SMS. State Bank of India warned its customers against downloading or installing SBI or other apps by clicking on the link provided to them from unofficial sources. The bank said users should only download the app from the official Play Store.

Punjab National Bank has published a detailed advisory on its website warning users about the SOVA Trojan. “Indian banking customers have been reported to be the target of a new type of mobile banking malware campaign using SOVA Android Trojan. The first version of this malware appeared for sale in underground markets in September 2021 with the ability to collect usernames and passwords via keylogging, stealing cookies and adding fake overlays to a range of apps SOVA previously targeted countries like the US, Russia and Spain, but in July 2022 it added several other countries, including India, to its list of targets ,” the PNB said.

The bank said in its opinion that the latest version of the SOVA malware hides itself in fake Android applications that appear with the logo of some famous legit apps like Chrome, Amazon, NFT platform to trick users into installing them . This malware captures the credentials when users log into their internet banking apps and access bank accounts. The new version of SOVA appears to target more than 200 mobile applications, including banking apps and crypto exchanges/wallets. the latest version various code development including ransomware features,” it said.

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How does SOVA infect your smartphone?

SOVA malware is spread through smishing attacks (SMS phishing). If a user installs a fake app for Android from the link, the app will send the list of all applications installed on the device to the scammers. Crooks then send the list of addresses for each targeted application back to the malware and store this information in an XML file. These targeted applications are then managed through the communication between the malware and the C2, putting your login ID, password and other confidential information at risk.

“SOVA is turned into a security module. The function is intended to protect itself against actions of various victims. For example, if the user tries to remove the malware from the settings or by pressing the icon, SOVA can intercept and prevent these actions by return to the home screen and display a small pop-up claiming that the app is secure,” the bank wrote in its message.

Also read: Attention PNB customers! Check the balance now, mini overview, use other services on WhatsApp

How to protect your phone from SOVA Trojan?
* Never download any app from other than official sources like PlayStore.
* Before downloading/installing apps on Android devices (even from the Google Play Store), always review the app details, download count, user reviews, comments, and “Additional Information” section. Also verify app permissions and grant only those permissions that:
relevant context for the purpose of the app. Users should not check the “Untrusted sources” box to install such apps.
* Keep your device and Android version updated with security patches released from time to time.
* Do not browse untrusted websites or follow untrusted links and be careful when clicking the link in unsolicited emails and texts
* Install and maintain updated antivirus and antispyware software.
* Search for the details of the sender of the message. Real text messages received from banks usually contain a sender ID (consisting of the bank’s short name) rather than a phone number in the sender information field.
* Be careful with shortened URLs, such as those with and tinyurl. Users are advised to hover their cursor over the shortened URLs to see the full website domain they are visiting. One can also use a URL checker that allows the user to enter a short URL and view the full URL.
* Be aware of valid encryption certificates by checking for the green lock in the browser’s address bar before providing sensitive information such as personal information or account login details.

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