Bitdefender Mobile Security has received a significant upgrade with Chat Protection, which now fends off threats on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Discord and Telegram, besides the SMS and notification protection offered by Scam Alert.
A boom in attacks in recent years has followed unlikely vectors, such as SMS. Despite the prevalence of instant messaging apps in day-to-day communication, SMS remains a vital communication channel, especially for companies and institutions. Criminals that impersonate enterprises use it to persuade potential victims to click on malicious links.
The FluBot campaign that affected users worldwide was a prime example of the damage criminals can inflict by sending links via SMS. The Scam Alert feature in Bitdefender‘s security solution guards users against malicious links that arrive via SMS messages or as a notification, and Chat Protection enhances security by adding instant messaging apps under its umbrella.
One way malware spreads among devices is built-in. Victims’ devices infected with certain types of malware join attackers’ campaigns by automatically sending messages to other people.
Bitdefender added support for WhatsApp, Messenger, Discord and Telegram to Chat Protection, which means that any malicious link sent (or received) through these apps immediately triggers a warning from the security solution. Users are advised not to forward the message and to delete it immediately, preempting financial and data loss.
The apps now included in Chat Protection are among the most used in the world, making them prime targets for criminals who want to spread their scams to as many people as possible.
Unfortunately, human error and inattentiveness are also critical vectors of infection. People unknowingly send malicious links to friends or family, either automatically from a compromised online account or by mistake.
These instant messaging apps are also built to accommodate large groups of people with a common interest, making them all the more attractive to scammers. If only one device is compromised and sends messages to a group chat, it’s much more likely that people click on that link because it comes from someone they know.
When you combine these vectors and know that criminals have already started to send malicious links via instant messaging apps, the need for Chat Protection becomes clear.
Social engineering is one of the most significant attack vectors. Daily, criminals try to trick large numbers of people by stressing some impending emergency or appealing to their curiosity. A campaign entitled “Is this you in this video” spread like wildfire on Facebook Messenger earlier this year. It was a phishing and malware campaign aiming to collect masses of data.
One fortuitous side effect of the new Chat Protection feature is that it will likely curb the number of malicious forwarded messages coming and going toward friends and family, thus protecting more than just one user.
Of course, Scam Alert will continue to intercept malicious links the notification system displays on Android, no matter which app sends that notification.
Bitdefender Mobile Security extends its functionality on Android with Chat Protection, adding to the existing feature set like active and background scans, web protection, app lock, anti-thefts, account breach detection, and much more.