It doesn’t happen that often altogether that mobile malware specifically come from France and propagate in France. It however seems to be the case this time for an Android malware named Foncy – not that there should be any national pride in creating malware.
Foncy has first been spotted by Denis Maslennikov. It is a dialer, i.e it sends SMS messages to premium numbers, without user’s consent. It does not spread by itself: victims are infected when they download and install the malware, likely from an alternate marketplace. They probably just wanted to try out an application, which happened to be the malware.
The application’s name (SuiConFo) – which is a French abbreviation for tracking mobile plans – immediately rang a bell in our French anti-virus labs. Since then, Karine de Ponteves and I, have been able to track information on this malware.
The malware looks like former versions of a legitimate application named Track Your Plan. The code and signing certificate bear however absolutely no similarity.
In France, the malware sends 4 SMS to short number 81001, with body “STAR”. Each SMS costs 4.50 euros. The short number is a SMS+ number, rented to a French company, who in turn rents it to its customers and other intermediaries. Searching the web, we found several French users complaining about their bill and obviously infected by the malware.
Actually, the French short number 81001 seems to be involved in several scams. For example, an end-user below reports he received an e-mail telling him he had won an iPhone 4 and was being asked to send an SMS to 81001 with body “STAR”. The e-mail looks like it comes from a Fabrice Andre from Orange. Actually, a Fabrice Andre of Orange does exist, but certainly hasn’t sent this e-mail. The operator Orange is aware of this scam.
We also acknowledged a discussion on a French forum where a member was boasting about a new method to make easy money using 81001. He explained he opened a StarPass account (StarPass is a micro-payment system – via SMS), and then would ask his Facebook contacts to send a SMS to 81001.
For each 4.50 euro SMS received, StarPass pays back the author 2 euros.
Additionally, Android/Foncy listens to incoming responses from 81001 and forwards the answers by SMS to a French mobile number 06xxxxxxxx. This mobile number belongs to SFR, who has been notified.
French mobile phone subscribers should be particulary wary of abnormal SMS bills, as the short number 81001 and the mobile line 06xxxxxxxx are still active at the time of writing this blog, and Android/Foncy is still in the wild. End-users should complain to their operator and/or report any unsollicited spam to the French service 33700.
To this date, we do not know the amount of French victims, and will keep you informed.
– the Crypto Girl
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