Android users spammed with fake Amazon gift card offers

Text messages promising free gift cards deliver only spam instead

The Gazon SMS scam promises a free Amazon gift card but delivers only spam

The Gazon SMS scam promises a free Amazon gift card but delivers only spam

New malware spreading across Android devices via text messages promises free Amazon gift cards but delivers only spam to everyone on the device's contact list.

The "Gazon" threat, as it is called by IT security firm AdaptiveMobile, has already infected more than 4,000 Android phones in North America, making it the single largest text-based mobile malware attack against Android to date, according to the company. Gazon has also been seen on devices outside North America.

Gazon has thus far spewed out more than 200,000 unsolicited SMS messages, luring some to click on a link promising free Amazon gift cards, an action that causes more messages to be sent out.

None of the major antivirus vendors have detected the malware yet, according to AdaptiveMobile, which discovered the Android virus February 25.

Gazon is a worm, meaning that it propagates itself across multiple devices.

The malware invades phones if users click on an Internet address included with the unwanted text message, which promises $200 in Amazon gift cards. If the link is clicked, software is installed on the device that then sends an identical message to all of the affected user's contacts.

The link doesn't lead to an Amazon gift card, but rather to a page of advertisements that presumably triggers a commission fee for the author of the worm.

Users can remove the malware by using the standard uninstall utility in Android.

Using SMS messages seems to be an increasingly common tactic for propagating Android malware, which until recently was quite rare.

Last May, the Trojan Horse virus Koler used SMS to lure users into downloading software that locked devices which could only be unlocked if the user paid a ransom. The Selmite worm, discovered in June, spread spammy messages to market synchronization software.

The Samsapo worm, also found in May, used text messages to trick users into downloading malicious software.

AdaptiveMobile has tracked the worm back to a single Facebook account that was previously linked to a similar messaging attack in January involving the WhatsApp messaging service.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AdaptiveMobilesecuritymalware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?