The latest malicious Android app is a clever thing indeed. So clever that it has managed to infect 60 000 devices at last count. What should you look out for? The whole process starts with a pop up that informs you that you have issues with your device. The make and model of your device is listed in the pop up making everything look very official. It gives you the option of ignoring the issues or cleaning them up by installing an app. Thing is it doesn’t matter what you click, it takes you to a power saver app in the legitimate Google Play store.
It isn’t until you look at the permissions that the app asks for during install that things seem a bit odd. Why would a power saver app need:
- to read sensitive data?
- to receive text messages?
- to pair with Bluetooth devices?
- full network access?
- to modify system settings?
- to receive data from the Internet?
If you decide to ignore the red flags and install the app anyway a few things will happen. First, a hacker completely controls your device. Second, a little ad-clicker bot runs in the background clicking on ads and generating revenue for the hacker while stealing your data. Third, the app actually does work by stopping processes that are using too much battery power when the battery level is low. So it isn’t all bad. At least the app does what it says it does. It’s the bonus features that you can do without.
If you are have a pop up on your device that you cannot close or that takes you to a web page or the Google Play Store no matter what you do, restart the device. That should get rid of the pop up. If it persists you may have to resort to a factory reset. Either way you do not have to give a hacker control of your phone to get rid of a persistent pop up.