The UltimaSMS Adware scam is abusing Android apps to subscribe users to premium SMS services that charge up to $40/month depending on their mobile carrier and geographic location.
Avast researchers have discovered a globally active SMS fraud campaign that has leveraged around 151 malicious Android applications, collectively boasting around 10.5 million downloads.
The campaign’s modus operandi involves scammers attempting to subscribe unsuspecting users to premium subscription services without notifying them. These fraudulent apps are downloaded by users in the following countries:
Egypt Oman Qatar Turkey Kuwait Pakistan Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates United States of America Number of downloads per country
The campaign has been dubbed UltimaSMS by Avast researchers, and its main targets are Android applications available on Google Play Store. The name is derived from the first app the researchers discovered used in this fraud, Ultima Keyboard 3D.
Reportedly, the campaign has been active since May 2021. It primarily involves applications covering various categories, from QR code scanners and virtual keyboards to photo and video editors, camera filters, online games, and spam call blockers.
How does the Scheme Works?