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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags malwareAdaptiveMobile

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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?