Finland battles 'exceptional' malware attack spread by phones

HELSINKI (BLOOMBERG) – Finland is working to stop a flood of text messages of an unknown origin that are spreading malware.

The messages with malicious links to malware called FluBot number in the millions, according to Ms Aino-Maria Vayrynen, information security specialist at the National Cyber Security Centre.

Telia Co AB, the country’s second-biggest telecommunications operator, has intercepted some hundreds of thousands of messages.

“The malware attack is extremely exceptional and very worrying,” Mr Teemu Makela, chief information security officer at Elisa Oyj, the largest telecoms operator, said by phone. “A considerable number of text messages are flying around.”

The messages started beeping Finns’ mobiles late last week, prompting the National Cyber Security Centre to issue a “severe alert”.

The campaign is worse than a previous bout of activity in the summer, Telia fraud manager Antti Turunen said.

Many of the messages claim that the recipient has received a voice mail, asking them to open a link. On Android devices, that brings up a prompt that requests user to allow installation of an application that contains the malware, and on Apple’s iPhones, users are taken to other fraudulent material on the website, authorities said.


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