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New fake antivirus scareware pop up with amazing regularity, but some researchers encountered an intriguing variant that indicates scammers may begin targeting mobile platforms.

A rogue antivirus masquerading as a Kaspersky Lab antivirus scanner has been spotted on mobile devices, Dinesh Venkatesan, an anti-malware researcher, posted on the CA Security Advisor Research Blog on April 27. The current scam is designed to trick Russian-speaking users into paying for bogus mobile protection.

The “exponential growth” of the smartphone market means these kinds of threats will be “growing proportionately,” Venkatesan wrote.

The fake antivirus appears to be spreading using social engineering tactics, according to Venkatesan. Once launched on the device, it presented a “friendly UI” and asks the user whether it should scan the phone for viruses. After running the scan, it informs the user that two threats have been detected.

When the user tried to remove the infection, they were shown a bogus error code “07931020” and a message explaining that the software encountered an error when trying to remove the malware.

 “The sample is supposedly spread by some social engineering tricks where users would have been provided with support numbers/email id to contact to resolve those error codes,” Venkatesan said.

Contacting that support number or address is presumably when the users are tricked into paying for an upgrade to remove the alleged infection. Venkatesan didn’t have that information when analyzing the malware sample and couldn’t complete the analysis to determine how the malware authors were monetizing the scam.

The app is not very sophisticated at the moment, suggesting it was an early stage experiment for the app developer. On a mobile platform, SMS-based micro payments seem to be the most logical way to trick money out of the victims. The rogue scanner has hardcoded the malware names as it always “found” the same “Trojan moby” and “RebBrowser” in two locations that are clearly from the Windows file system. While it is “scanning” the files, it played an audio file in the background of a crashing sound just before displaying the error message.

For more, read the eWEEK article: Fake Kaspersky Antivirus Scanner Detected on Mobile Devices.