Its bad enough that our service providers debit our airtime at will, its even more alarming that malware have joined the race with a very aggressive strategy. Not too long ago, I discussed the Time Service and Monkey Test Malware (see https://journal.hovatek.com/how-to-remove-privacy-guard-easy-tool-monkey-test-and-time-service-malware-from-an-mtk-mediatek-android-phone/ if you missed it). In that article, I explained how malware infect your Android phone, how to identify malware related activities and how to weed out the menace. Today, I’ll be taking you through another type of malware that also makes money off you, only in a more parasitic way.
How does this automatic SMS sending malware work?
The malware requires an internet connection so you would often notice the automatic sending of SMS once data is enabled or you are connected to a Wi-Fi Hotspot. The malware sends the SMS (at regular intervals) to premium numbers and the hacker gets a cut of whatever you are charged.
Apart from malware, could there be any other reason why my Android phone keeps sending SMS to an unknown number?
Yes, quite a number. In some cases, its an error in your phone’s software. In this instance, the software is trying to register your phone by sending certain informations to your service provider’s servers. The auto-sms bug could also be caused by installed apps, especially voicemail, SMS and call managers. On rear occasions, its caused by an error in your default SMS app causing it to resend an already sent SMS to the same number over and over.
How do I stop my Android phone from automatically sending SMS?
Some fixes to consider include:
Clear SMS cache:
Navigate to Settings > Apps > All > Locate your SMS app > Force stop it and clear data > Reboot the phone
Freeze / Delete GN_SalesStatistic and GN_SalesTrack_GL:
fix is unique to Gionee users. For other brands, search for similar apps. To do this
- Root the phone (see https://forum.hovatek.com/thread-292.html)
- Install a root browser like ROM Toolbox Lite or ES File explorer from Playstore
- Navigate to the system/app folder
- Locate GN_SalesStatistic and GN_SalesTrack_GL
- Delete both apks.
- If you prefer to freeze them then use Titanium backup or Greenify (from Play Store)
Install Handcent Next SMS:
This app is a third party SMS app with many cool features. The feature of interest is the confirm before sending SMS setting.
Download and Install Handcent Next SMS at https://hovatek.com/redirect.php?link=https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.handcent.app.nextsms
Launch Handcent Next SMS and select Yes to make it your default SMS app
Tap close to exit the Release notes popup
You should now be in your Inbox, tap the menu icon at the top (three parallel horizontal bars beside Inbox)
Tap the Settings Gear icon at the bottom
Tap Send message settings
Scroll down to Send message confirm
Set Send message confirm to On
Uninstall suspicious apps:
Uninstall suspicious and newly installed applications as the problem could be coming from an app.
Run a malware / virus scan:
5. Do a factory reset: You could do a factory reset in recovery mode (see https://forum.hovatek.com/thread-479.html for how to boot into recovery mode) or under Settings > Backup & Reset
6. Wipe then re-install firmware: Depending on the Chipset the phone is running on, wipe the phone then re-install the stock ROM / firmware (or a different one). For Mediatek, use SP flash tool (https://forum.hovatek.com/thread-159.html), For Spreadtrum, use Upgrade Download tool (https://forum.hovatek.com/thread-1231.html).
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