This article has been created in order to explain to you what is the Smishing Scam Landing Pages and how you can remove them as well as all potentially unwanted programs delivered through them.
The Smishing Scam Landing Pages is a popular tactic that attempts to manipulate users into accesing hacker-created pages that can steal their money or infect them with viruses. Our article gives an in-depth explanation of how it propagates and how victims protect themselves.
|Name||Smishing Scam Landing Pages|
|Type||Phishing SMS scams|
|Short Description||The Smishing Scam Landing Pages is a popular tactic that coerces the users into interacting with a scam site.|
|Symptoms||Victims will receive SMS messages that contain the phishing instructions.|
|Distribution Method||SMS messages.|
Smishing Scam Landing Pages – Distribution Ways
The Smishing phishing scams are becoming more and more popular as most of them rely on the fact that SMS messages are widely used by Internet services for notifications or two-factor authentication. They are notoriously easy to organize as they do not depend on interaction with a certain web site, application or service. The single requirement is that the hacker operators behind it access phone databases in order to build a list of target phone numbers.
The actual delivery of the messages is automated and done through virtual phone SMS sending service that hides the identity of the senders. By customizing them instead of a phone number the receiving users might see letters of companies or services that they use.
An alternative variant is where the hacker operators use a two-step phone number gathering page. Various forms can be spread using the most popular tactics used by other common phishing scams:
- Email Messages — Scam messages posing as being sent by companies or services that the users might use may request that the recipients provide their phone number for a profile update or another common reason. When this is done this the harvested information will be used to perform the smishing tactic.
- Malicious Application Installers — The hackers can manipulate legitimate setup files with a phone number field that is displayed during the installation process or after it. The usual targets are applications that are popularly downloaded by end users such as productivity apps, creativity suites, system utilities and etc.
- Online Communities — The criminals can use either fake accounts created for this purpose or hack those with weak security in order to fool users into disclosing their phone number. This may be done via forum posts, direct messages, photo posts and other content posted on social networks and online communities.
- Data Theft and Abuse — Many of the user phone number data is acquired through purchases made on the underground markets.
- Browser Hijackers — Installed malicious browser plugins can harvest the data from the infected hosts or present pop-up windows and notification boxes requesting the phone number. Such attempts can be masked as verification of the installed extension or requirement in order for the redirects to be “active”.
Smishing Scam Landing Pages – In-Depth Overview
The actual smishing scam landing pages will usually present fake login prompts that will attempt to steal the credentials for the shown service. Popular examples include the following cases:
- Account Closure Notification — The received SMS will notify the recipient that their accounts for a service that they use is about to be closed. They will be redirected to a landing page requesting the quoted username/email and password information.
- Gift Card Claim — The received smishing scam messages will notify the recipients that they have won a gift card of significant value due to a purchase that they did. In order to redeem and receive the gift card they are given a code to enter on the landing page. When it is accessed and the code is entered a user registration form will be presented. It will be used to hijack the entered information — sensitive information is requested which can then be used for identity theft and other types of abuse.
- Banking Activity Notification — The users will receive SMS messages that warn of “detected unusual activity” wherein the users are shown a web address where they can “review” the suspicious data. The redirect page will show a a fake copy of the quoted bank’s login page. If any entered credentials are submitted they will be instantly transferred to the hacker operators.
- Image Access — A shortened URL to a photo will be sent to the victims. This might provoke the curiosity of the recipients and they will open it up. In most cases this will lead to a virus infection.
- Tax Refund Request — A SMS message pretending to be from the IRS or another government agency can be sent to the users. It is usually related to tax information and will include a link to a fake gateway page. When it is clicked on it will request a lot of information about the user’s financial status. The collected data can then be used for serious financial abuse.
What’s more dangerous is that the hackers can make use of behavior that is already traditional among people around the world. This is evident when donation scheme phishing attacks are carried. The criminals can send out messages that are disguised as legitimate pleas for help. The messages contains instructions that coerce them into replying with a certain command in order to initiate the donation. If this is done then a large tax will be placed upon the victims and the money will directly go into the accounts of the phishing operators. They are very successful especially when organized during actual charity events — special events or holidays where the media also raise attention to such issues.
The smishing campaigns in many cases are coupled with the sending of messages from premium phone numbers. This means that phone charges will incur if the victims interact with them .
Another popular scenario is when the criminals behind the phishing attacks use the account confirmation scenario. This is done when user accounts are linked to the person’s phone number and that information is crawled by the criminals — either by manual research or by using automatic means. This helps them into constructing believable notifications that can result in a high chance of gaining whole databases of account username, email and password credentials. Some of the attack scenarios can include a spoofed Google Docs links page which is a convenient way to distribute thepopular Google Docs phishing scam.
The other dangerous instance is when the SMS message coerces the users into opening a link on their computers. This will usually lead to infections with dangerous malware of all popular types:
- Screen Locker — This mobile malware will lock the device’s lockscreen, display intrusive SPAM messages and simultaneously deploy other threats. Having one installed additionally diminishes heavily the performance of the devices and is often coupled with cryptocurrency miners.
- Trojans — These are among the most dangerous malware threats that can be used against computer users. Their main goal is to install a client service onto the hosts that establishes a secure connection to a preset hacker-controlled server. It is used to allow the operators to spy on the users, hijack their data and take over control of the systems at any given time.
- Browser Hijackers — The victim users may be coerced into installing a special browser plugin (extension) which is usually malicious in nature. When it is installed the default configuration is to modify the web browser settings into redirecting the users to a specific hacker-controlled page.
As such most of the effects of Smishing scam landing pages can lead to dangerous infections. In such cases the use of a quality anti-spyware solution will help remove active infections from the affected computers.
Remove Smishing Scam Landing Pages from Your Android Device
The Smishing Scam Landing Pages may infect your Android phone or tablet. Depending on their exact configuration in many cases restore may be difficult for users to do using the ordinary system tools. If some of the system services are blocked then the only method for effective removal would be to use an advanced security solution. Such program are created to fully scan your devices and try to eliminate any traces of unwanted programs and protect them against future infections as well.
Since manually removing malicious content may erase your data, we have suggested several methods to do it effectively and safely in case you have an Android device in the step-by-step instructions below. If you want to skip these steps and remove the objects automatically, we suggest that you download an advanced privacy protective app designed to to block any future intrusions.