Researchers discover new malware campaign that is harder to detect


When you install an app on your phone, you can recognize it by its name and its icon, but that is something that hackers are taking advantage of. According to a report from Bitdefender, they have uncovered a new malware campaign that makes malware installed on your phone difficult to detect.

How it works is that the malware disguised as apps are downloaded from the Google Play Store. Once installed, the malware will then start aggressively serving up ads on the user’s phone. Now, you might think that you can just delete the app in question, right? That’s where the tricky part comes in.

According to Bitdefender, these apps once installed will be able to periodically change their app icon and name from time to time. The idea is that by changing the name and icon, it will make it harder to be discovered. In one example, the researchers found that an app that was initially called “GPS Location Maps” changed its name to “Settings” as well as its icon.

It even changes its function where when users tap on it, it launches the actual Settings app, tricking users into thinking that the app that just launched is the real deal. It is unclear how Google could solve this issue, especially since these apps come from the Play Store, but according to Bitdefender’s advice:

  • Don’t install apps that you don’t really need
  • Remember to delete apps you no longer user
  • Be wary of apps with a large number of downloads and few or no reviews
  • Be wary of apps that request special permissions, like Drawing over apps or access to Accessibility
  • Be wary of apps that request access to permissions that have nothing to do with the advertised functionality
  • Always run a security solution in the background that can detect malicious behavior. Just because an app is downloaded from an official store doesn’t mean it’s safe.

With that being said, if you have downloaded and installed apps that you no longer need, maybe it’s time to go through all your apps and delete the ones that you are not using anymore, just to be on the safe side.

Source: Android Police

Tyler Lee
A graphic novelist wannabe. Amateur chef. Mechanical keyboard enthusiast. Writer of tech with over a decade of experience. Juggles between using a Mac and Windows PC, switches between iOS and Android, believes in the best of both worlds.

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