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New worm-like malware spreads through text messages

Russian-speaking smartphone users have come under attack from an innovative form of malware that spreads like a worm through text messages.

The virus sends a text message saying "Is this your photo?" in Russian. The message then has a link to an Android application package (.APK) file containing a copy of a piece of malware called "Android/Samsapo.A".

The malware can allegedly download other malicious files to an infected phone, steal personal information including text messages from a device, and even block phone calls.

Samsapo spreads by sending text messages from an infected mobile device to other people in the victim's contact list, a worm-like characteristic that has been used by other mobile malware programs.

"This technique wouldnt raise an eyebrow on Windows, but is rather novel on Android," wrote Robert Lipovsky, one of the Eset malware researchers who spotted the virus in the wild.

The APK file name makes it appear as a system utility: " v1.0."

However, the program doesn't have a graphical user interface or an icon in the application drawer.

Security experts advise not downloading apps that you don't fully trust, or from unofficial websites, and not opening any text that matches the description above.

While the Google Play Store routinely scans apps for malware, non-Google websites may not.

Read more: How to tell if your Android phone is infected with malware