"Most malware writers are motivated by money, and Android is no exception. There are now obvious ways to use USSD attacks for financial gain," said Tjark Auerbach, founder and CEO of Avira. "But in the worst case, this exploit can be used to factory reset your Android phone and wipe out all your data without your knowledge. So we developed the Avira USSD Exploit Blocker to protect Avira's customers and everyone else who needs it."
The USSD vulnerability was discovered by Dylan Reeve and was originally thought to affect just Samsung Galaxy phones, but it has since been confirmed to affect all Android phones running versions 4.0.x or lower. It works by using the special dial code, for example *#06# to display a phone's IMEI number, which in turn can be manipulated via SMS, NFC beam or even a malicious website link to lock the phone's SIM card, or factory-reset the phone and wipe out all its data. In addition, sending a special code can re-direct all calls to a premium number in order to pile up charges on the phone user's bill without the user knowing.
Avira encourages all Android phone users to go to https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.avira.android.telblocker from their device and install the app.
Avira wants its customers to 'live free' from spyware, phishing, viruses and other internet-based threats. The company was founded 25 years ago on Tjark Auerbach's promise to "make software that does good things for my friends and family." More than 100 million consumers and small businesses now depend upon Avira's security expertise and award-winning antivirus software, making the company the number-two market share leader globally. Avira provides IT-security protection to computers, smartphones, servers and networks, delivered as both software and cloud-based services.
In addition to protecting the online world, Avira's CEO promotes well-being in the offline world through the Auerbach Foundation, which supports charitable and social projects. The philosophy of the foundation is to help people to help themselves.
For more information, please visit www.avira.com or join the community at www.facebook.com/avira.