Security company McAfee has warned of a sophisticated mobile malware campaign that could enable hackers to gain access to mobile devices.
The campaign works by tricking users into downloading an open-source mobile device management (MDM) software package without their knowledge.
For those who are unaware, MDM is a type of software used by an IT department to monitor, manage, and secure employees' mobile devices. Therefore, this malicious MDM campaign that McAfee is warning of could be used to gain almost complete access to a mobile device once hijacked by hackers.
Once access is gained, the attackers could steal various forms of sensitive information, including the phone number, serial number, location, contact details, the user's photos, SMS messages, and Telegram and WhatsApp chat messages, McAfee's chief consumer security evangelist, Gary Davis, warned in a blog post.
"The iPhone and many of the apps designed to live on the device have the ability to track our location. Whenever they set up these apps, however, users get the option to opt in or out of location tracking services.
"But what happens when a malicious campaign doesn't give users the option to opt out of having their location tracked by cybercriminals?" Davis said, adding that the hack makes this very possible.
Davis said it's not yet clear how the campaign is being spread, but many signs point to social engineering.
To stay secure against such compromises, he advises that users should keep up-to-date on the latest social engineering scams so they know what scams to look out for.
"This means reading up the latest security news and knowing what's real and what's fake when it comes to random emails, phone calls, and text messages," he said.
He also advised users to turn off location services.
"It's one thing for a cybercriminal to have ahold of your data, but it's another thing entirely if they have the ability to track your location," he added.
"This hack could not only impact your digital security but your physical security as well. So, turn off the location services immediately on your phone - that way if they gain access to your device, they won't be able to track you."
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