Barclays explained that mobile malware is “harmful software” that is specifically designed by criminals to spy, control and attack personal devices such as smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches
Barclays has issued a warning over a new scheme that sees scammers use malware to sneak onto victim’s personal devices to steal information and money.
The warning came from an update to its latest scams page on the high street banks website. Barclays explained that mobile malware is “harmful software” that is specifically designed by criminals to spy, control and attack personal devices such as smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. Once it has been installed onto the device, the malware will then have the capability to steal information, change device settings and access people’s apps – including banking apps.
The banking giant warned that criminals often sneak malware onto your device using apps they’ve made that have been added to the genuine app store. The apps created by criminals usually look legitimate and useful so they trick users into downloading them. Often they come in the form of a PDF reader or file manager.
Barclays explained: “When you install it, it works as normal. Weeks or months later, the app says it needs an update. The update contains malware that installs itself without you realising it. Harmful apps often request access to your device’s accessibility services. This gives them full access to your phone.”
With this level of access, Barclays said the scammers can even set people’s phones to open malware when they select their banking app, so they get a fake login screen that will “steal your login information”.
Barclays then shared five tips people can use to protect themselves against mobile malware, which include:
- Be suspicious if an app asks for accessibility permissions
- Always install the latest security updates for a device
- If a text or email has a link to an app that isn’t recognised, don’t download it
- Use two-factor authentication to keep important apps safe
- Install anti-virus software on all devices and research what’s available before choosing one
Barclays says if your device is acting “strangely” such as freezing randomly or restarting, you should check your bank account and follow the advice on the Government’s website on how to recover an infected device here.
What to do if you think you’ve been scammed
If you think a scammer has got hold of your bank details or if you have lost money, you need to contact your bank straight away. You can call the 159 hotline, which will connect you to your bank. Passwords that have been leaked or compromised should be changed immediately. Make sure you report scams and fraud to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or through the Action Fraud website.
If you’re in Scotland, report a scam through Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or on the Advice Direct Scotland website. You can also report scams to Police Scotland on 101.
For scam emails, forward them to [email protected], and for scam text messages, forward them to 7726 for free. If you suspect a scammer is calling you, hang up immediately and search for the contact details online of the place you’re supposedly being called from. Never call back the number provided by the caller.