How Cybercrimes Infect Your Smartphones with Trojans Without Internet Connection


 Fraudsters have begun to build viruses and Trojans into power banks. It is impossible to find them there without connecting to the same smartphone or laptop, which significantly increases the risk of infection of the device and loss of personal data.


Virus in a Harmless Accessory

Cybercriminals have learned to infect mobile devices with viruses and Trojans, even if they are not connected to the Internet, or if the user never visits questionable sites and downloads applications of unknown origin. They use external batteries for this - power banks.


To this conclusion, writes the portal Gizmochina, experts from the cybersecurity bureau of the Ministry of Public Security of China came. They warn that you should not use external batteries of unknown manufacturers, as they may contain malware.


Experts also advised not to use power banks received as a gift or devices belonging to other people. They did not report anything about battery rental services, which are very popular in many countries, including Russia.


What is it for

Gizmochina reports that scammers who have introduced viruses and Trojans into portable chargers are pursuing the same goals as hackers who distribute such software in more traditional ways. They need user data - photos, videos, notebooks, messages in instant messengers, SMS from banks and much more.


Viruses and Trojans installed through Powerbank can remain unnoticed by the user for weeks or months, stealthily stealing his information and sending it to third parties. Also, such programs can download intrusive advertising applications to devices, plus hackers can use an infected mobile phone to perform other malicious actions, including mining cryptocurrencies.


All under threat

Android users can face the consequences of using "charged" power banks, as this system, unlike Apple iOS, almost does not prevent the installation of applications from unknown sources. However, the owners of the iPhone and iPad are also at risk, as it became known seven years ago.


In June 2013, Georgia Institute of Technology (USA) conducted a study and found that malware can be loaded directly into the charger from the iPhone. If this can be done with a branded accessory, then nothing prevents hackers from releasing a whole series of external batteries "with a surprise" and a cable with a Lightning connector included.


How to protect your information

In addition to the recommendations of the Chinese Cyber ​​Security Bureau, you should carefully read the messages that appear on the smartphone screen when the power source is connected. In most cases, only the battery charging icon is displayed, but if the powerbank is "smart", and even with some kind of application inside, the smartphone may issue a request to grant such a device access rights to one or another of its components. Such requests should be rejected.


In addition, the so-called "developer mode" or Developer Mode should always be turned off in the settings menu in Android smartphones and tablets, since the smartphone is more vulnerable to various attacks in it. The firmware of a number of modern smartphones has an option to automatically disable it - for example, in MIUI from Xiaomi, the Security application is used for this purpose.


Along with software protection methods, there are also hardware protection methods, the use of which in tandem with absolutely any external battery allows you to achieve the maximum level of security. This protection is provided by devices called "USB condom" (USB condom).


They, writes the ZDnet portal, are an adapter between the same power bank and a mobile device, in which there are physically no contacts for data transmission - only for power. In this case, even if there really is malware in the external battery, it will never get to the smartphone. USB condoms can also be used with modern laptops, many of which can be charged via USB-C.


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