Now the Wrong Click on a Phone Could Empty Your Bank Account

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Shocked woman looking at her phone
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If you use the Google Chrome browser on your phone, be careful not to click on the wrong update link.

A new type of malware is appearing on Android phones under the guise of a Chrome update. The banking malware — dubbed “Brokewell” — can take over your device and steal your data.

Experts at ThreatFabric discovered the malware, and they say Brokewell “poses a significant threat to the banking industry” and can give crooks remote access to any assets tied to mobile banking.

Spotting the threat might be tricky. Lifehacker reports that the malware even mimics “the actual ads Google puts out for its browser.”

New commands are being added to the malware nearly every day, according to ThreatFabric. Brokewell also can collect other information, such as your call history, geolocation and recorded audio.

In addition to mimicking Chrome, Brokewell also masquerades as two other apps, ID Austria and Klarna.

To keep Brokewell at bay, you need to stay vigilant. A Lifehacker report on the malware offers the following advice:

“Either way, if you’re running an Android phone right now, be careful what you download, and only download applications from trusted sources. Importantly, if a third-party app asks for accessibility permissions, don’t give them to it, as it could provide open access to your device and any data stored on it.”

Tom’s Guide says sharp-eyed observers also might notice grammatical errors in Brokewell pop-ups that request permission to update. For example, you might see the phrase “An update is required yours.”

Fortunately, many Android phones have Google Play Protect pre-installed. If this app is installed on your phone and enabled, you should be protected. A Google spokesperson told Tom’s Guide that “Android users are automatically protected against known versions of this malware by Google Play Protect.”

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