Cybersecurity experts at fraud management company Cleafy say the BRATA virus was first detected in Brazil, but has now moved out of South America and is expected to terrorize smartphone users in the UK. Kingdom, Poland and Italy soon.
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Smartphone owners are warned to be careful when downloading files on their devices after the appearance of a nasty new virus.
Security experts at fraud management firm Cleafy hope that shameless cyber thieves will start using the vicious bug to scam Brits out of their money.
The malware program is believed to only attack Android operating systems at present, they explained.
Cleafy told the Daily Express that the malware is called BRATA and allows hackers to monitor banking transactions and collect sensitive information.
This vital data becomes a hot commodity for cyber thieves who sell it or steal the money themselves.
But the virus does not end there. It then forces a factory reset of the device, allowing scammers to cover their tracks.
This wipe will delete everything from priceless family photos to work contacts, and the victim has no way to stop it.
The BRATA bug is relatively new in the field of cybersecurity, having been first detected in 2019 by security researchers at the Russian multinational cybersecurity company Kapersky.
Although it was discovered by a Russian company, the hackers were targeting users in Brazil, Cleafy told the Daily Express.
The virus is no longer confined to South America and has been spreading at an incredibly fast rate, making its way across the Atlantic, with the UK, Poland and Italy expected to be targeted soon.
This bug is also evolving at a rapid pace with new features that make it harder to detect and more devastating once it infects a phone.
Although this attack sounds scary, there is a fairly simple way to avoid falling victim to it.
BRATA appears to be distributed via download by criminals and, unlike many other forms of malware, has yet to be found in official app stores such as Google Play.
That means that as long as you stick to known and trusted platforms when installing apps and files, you should be safe.
Where you need to be alert is when you receive a WhatsApp text or chat asking you to download a file to your device, as this could make you a target.
Speaking about the new attack, Cleafy said: “A new variant of BRATA started circulating last December.
“Our investigation shows that it has been distributed via a downloader to avoid detection by antivirus solutions.
“The target list now contains more banks and financial institutions in the UK (new), Poland (new), Italy and LATAM.
“Based on our findings, we can expect BRATA to remain undetected and continue to develop new features.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.