A lot of us have had our phones blow up with spam calls and texts over the past couple of days, and it’s driving the whole world nuts.
Think robotic phone calls from mysterious numbers, and garbled text messages telling you to click suspicious-looking URLs because you supposedly have a
mkssqd cahl missed call.
Heaps of Aussies have complained about this recent influx of spam calls and texts, and that’s why one person decided to get to the bottom of it.
Oooooooh! Calaef left me a meesage! pic.twitter.com/8pKJIMkHq9
— Matilda Boseley (@MatildaBoseley) August 11, 2021
Has been a recent increase in spam texts and calls but today I’ve had literally 10. I don’t mind, make me feel like a busy business woman who is neglecting her children for her career
— Bec Shaw (@Brocklesnitch) August 11, 2021
is anyone else getting a bunch of spam calls from numbers that are only a few digits off your own?
— steph panecasio ✨ (@StephPanecasio) August 12, 2021
Comedian/radio host/author/spam call investigator Em Rusciano stepped in to find out where this collective cellular torment is coming from.
Rusciano tagged Telstra in one of her Insta stories about the spam texts, and the telco actually responded in her DMs.
It turns out whoever is staffing Telstra’s Instagram account has been getting these messages too, and they’re fully across the situation.
I’ve been getting heaps of these dodgy text messages.. I know I’m not alone. So I asked @Telstra and they solved the mystery!! pic.twitter.com/6z5oWYfmHu
— Em Rusciano (@EmRusciano) August 11, 2021
“It is Android malware [known as] ‘FluBot’ that originated overseas,” the Telstra rep said.
“This SMS will state that you have a new voicemail message and provide a link to a malicious website. Clicking on the link will attempt to install Android malware on your mobile device, if your device permits installation from outside of trusted locations (such as the Google Play store).
“The link is unique for each recipient and SMS. They’re hard to block as it is coming from legit handsets/devices all over the world.”
Once FluBot has taken a hold of your phone, it starts spamming other numbers and even goes through your contacts list to find more victims. It can also grant cybercriminals access to your credit card info, according to internet security company ESET.
“As [the messages are] coming from legit devices across the globe, they’re more difficult to block than some other cams,” the Telstra rep said.
“But rest assured we are aware and working on it.”
In the meantime, they also offered a quick fix: “Most popular antivirus apps for Android will clean it up.”
You heard the anonymous Telstra rep, Android users. Go download an antivirus app.
Also, don’t click any dodgy-looking links. Ever.