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Yahoo! Mail on Android being used to send spam
Each of the spam emails has the text “Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android” at the bottom and a further look at the email message headers confirms that they are being sent via Yahoo! Mail. According to Terry Zink from Microsoft, “We’ve all heard the rumors, but this is the first time I have seen it – a spammer has control of a botnet that lives on Android devices. These devices login to the user’s Yahoo Mail account and send spam.”
Since Yahoo! puts the IP address of the sending device in the message headers then Zink was able to look them up and determine the location of the devices. Unsurprisingly, the countries involved are Chile, Indonesia, Lebanon, Oman, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
So what do these locations have in common? Basically the users in this countries don’t use trusted app stores like Google Play or the Amazon Appstore but rather they use unsupervised stores where cyber criminals can easily submit infected apps. These infected apps are often modified versions of popular apps (including Angry Birds and Instagram) or paid-for apps which are offered for free. The downloader thinks they are getting a premium app for nothing but in fact they are infecting their phone with malware. As Terry Zink put it “your odds of downloading and installing a malicious Android app is pretty low if you get it from the Android Marketplace. But if you get it from some guy in a back alley on the Internet, the odds go way up.”
As always – be careful what you download and from where you download it!