Australians have been advised to be vigilant due to a rise in criminals seizing control of their devices through hidden viruses in genuine emails and games.

The Australian Federal Police said there has been a surge in Remote Access Trojans, also known as RATS, which is a type of malicious malware that allows a third party to access and steal sensitive personal information.

Cybercriminals obtain RATs to embed viruses into devices through downloadable email attachments hidden within ‘legitimate’ links, and computer video gaming.

The AFP have warned online users over RATs cyber plague. (boonchai wedmakawand/Moment RF/Getty Images/CNN )

Police said once the RAT has been downloaded, malware automatically installs onto the user’s device, allowing a cybercriminal to control and access webcams, microphones, online credentials, passwords, geolocation data, files, and log history.

“These viruses, known as RATs, are the tools of cybercriminals and are built to spread and takeover a victim’s device, just like a plague,” AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Goldsmid said.

“This is a reminder for all Australians to practice good cyber hygiene, and of how important it is to keep software and virus protection updated.

“Vulnerabilities in old or unprotected software are often the target for criminals attempting to gain control over a system so the owner can be targeted and exploited.”

Customers should be on the lookout for SMS scams that claim your Telstra points are about to expire.The below scam example shows Telstra isn't spelt correctly which is a good indication the text message isn't legit. The wording a scammer uses might change from one text to another, which is why we all need to remain vigilant.

‘Remain vigilant’: New scam text targeting Telstra customers

Police have charged an Australian man in April after he allegedly developed and sold a RAT called ‘Firebird’ to a number of customers on a hacking forum website while a Geelong man was sentenced to a three-year good behaviour bond last year after he purchased an Orcus RAT online from a Canadian national.

A 27-year-old Maltese national was also arrested in February, due to his alleged involvement in the distribution of the RAT ‘Warzone’.

Anyone caught using RAT technology in Australia can face a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Gregory’s and Taco Bell battle for Taco Tuesday trademark

Left: Gregory Gregory, owner of Gregory’s Bar & Grill (screengrab via Facebook);…

Georgia football coach allegedly strangled his girlfriend to death

ACCOKEEK, Ga. (TCD) — A 43-year-old award-winning football coach is in custody…

Two men jailed for almost 20 years over 1.28 tonne cocaine importation into Sydney

Two men have been jailed for almost two decades for their involvement…

Benjamin Brown: Plastic surgeon charged in death of wife who went into cardiac arrest while he worked on her

A plastic surgeon in the Florida Panhandle was charged with his wife’s…