Android virus – a group of malicious infections targeting people's personal data
Android virus is a term used to describe a group of malicious applications targeting Android smartphones and tablets. Based on the analysis held in 2018, Xender, Amber Weather Widget, Touchpal, Kitty Play, Z Camera, ES file explorer are the apps that can be downloaded from Google Play Store, but trigger aggressive ads that lead to Android virus infection. The infected device might exhibit a lock screen or encrypted data. The other typical symptom is aggressive or infected ads, which may feature pornographic content, warn the potential victim about rogue virus infections or display hoax prize giveaways.
|Types of malware||Ransomware, Screen locker, Spyware, Adware, Trojan|
|Danger level||High. Most of the Android virus versions are capable of locking the screen, stealing personal data and causing money loss|
|Symptoms||Locked screen, pushy ads, encrypted files, unusual system's behavior, significant slowdown, increased telephone bill|
|Distribution method||Trojanized apps, text messages, Google Play store apps, file-sharing websites, malicious links|
|Malware list||Com.google.provision, Com.android.system.ui, Com.android.gesture.builder, Lastacloud virus, NotCompatiblev virus, Mazar malware, Smart cars-hacking Android malware, Gooligan malware, Ghost Push virus, HummingWhale virus, HummingBad virus, e, GhostCtrl virus, Invisible Man, LokiBot virus, Marcher Android Trojan, Tizi Android virus, Android Police Virus, Android ransomware, Android ransomware, Lockdroid ransomware, LeakerLocker ransomware, DoubleLocker ransomware, Matcher Trojan, Tizi spyware, vGhostCtrl, ExoBot, Xavier, 10001_1.jar, Rabbitfiles|
These cyber threats have been spreading around since 2015, but it seems that that they won't stop doing that in 2018. Two of the most widespread members of Android virus group showed up in November 2017. They are known as Matcher Trojan and Tizi spyware. The latter has initially been found in 2015 which has been around since 2015 and has been used to steal personal information from social media apps.
Among other recently discovered cyber threats there is also DoubleLocker ransomware that emerged in October. It not only encrypts files on the targeted Android device but changes phone’s PIN. What is more, malware might also steal money from victims bank or PayPal account.
Beware that Android malware can now bypass Google's security and pretend to be a useful app in the Play Store. That was revealed when one of its variants, LeakerLocker, was spotted spreading using this technique. Other versions, such as vGhostCtrl, can open system's backdoor and allow attackers to record victim's audio/video files or steal important data.
On July 2017, researchers discovered a new version of Android malware known as “Invisible Man” which steals banking app data and other sensitive data. Thus, it only proves that Android users should pay attention to their devices' security.
In fact, almost all Android viruses are interested in getting personally identifiable information about the victim. Most often, this information includes credit card details, logins, and passwords.
Other variants cause less damage, such as sharing victim’s contact list, recording conversations, delivering unwanted pop-up ads, initiating redirects to various websites or infecting the device with other malware. According to cybersecurity research related to Android virus which has been help in the beginning of 2018, a number of apps distributed on Google Play Store can be infected with intrusive ads, which can be used for spreading more severe infections. Xender, Amber Weather Widget, Kitty Play, Touchpal, Z Camera are just a few examples.
You should also be careful with ES file explorer app, which claims being able to boost Android's battery life. Instead of being useful, this application may lock the screen and display disruptive Android ads that refuse to go away.
If you noticed that your tablet or phone is behaving oddly, you should not ignore these symptoms of the possible infection. If you have been dealing with slowdowns, suspicious alerts, redirects and surprisingly increased telephone bill, you should check your device for malware because they are the main signs showing that you are infected. To remove Android virus, you can the mobile version of Reimage.
Android virus reigns in 2017 and keeps evolving in 2018
Marcher Android Trojan, also known as ExoBot, is a banking malware that is known at least since 2013. Researchers reported about virus comeback in November 2017. The updated version of the malware included three hazardous components into one campaign: malware, credential phishing, and banking data theft. Security experts warn that this version of Android malware is more complicated and difficult.
Previously Marcher malware spread via SMS or MMS messages. However, crooks changed distribution method and sent a shortened link to a phishing via email in order to avoid detection. The recent campaign has been active at least since January 2017 and targeted customers of Austrian banks.
The malicious email includes a link to a fake Bank Austria website where users have to log in and enter their email address and phone number. Ten attackers send a victim a warning that he or she does not have the “Bank Austria Security App” installed on the phone and asks to download it from the provided link.
However, the installation of the malicious app requires altering security settings in order to download it from an unauthorized source. Malware requires lots of permissions that get attackers full access to the smartphone.
Once installed, a malicious app creates a legit-looking icon on the homes screen that looks similar to Bank Austria. After installing Marcher virus, victims are asked to enter their credit card information or other personally identifiable details whenever they open any applications.
According to the recent information, about 20,000 Android users may have suffered from this scam and installed ExoBot on their devices.
Google's security firewall can be easily bypassed by malicious Android apps
The most of the Android viruses can be downloaded from the Google Play store, together with safely-looking apps. No matter how much effort Google puts while trying to protect users and prevent these malicious apps from bypassing their security, viruses find a way to this store. Recently, security experts reported about a list of over 75 applications infected with Xavier Android virus found on Google Play Store.
Recently, security experts reported about a list of over 75 applications infected with Xavier Android virus found on Google Play Store.
However, it’s not the only way how Android virus can infect the device. In February 2016, one of the variants was noticed spreading via text messages. Once inside the system, it enabled illegal connections.
In 2017, security experts reported about several variants of this malware using sophisticated social engineering techniques to infiltrate the device via trojanized apps. Therefore, you should be careful when installing third-party apps because they can be infected with 10001_1.jar virus.
You can also get Rabbitfiles virus or similar malware from the third-party or file-sharing websites. Besides, Whatsap ads and similar notifications can also result in problems related to your Android phone. It's clear that 2017 means a new era for Android viruses. If in 2016, one in ten apps was infected, now this number continues growing.
Symptoms of the Android virus
Getting infected with Android virus is surely a frustrating experience. Pushy ads signal that there's something wrong with your Android device. Security researchers highly recommend avoiding lottery-themed and similar ads that can start interrupting you once you start using your device.
Besides, you should pay attention to such signs as constant freezes on your device. If your phone or other Android-based device has started freezing up and stopping from functioning while you are browsing the Internet, you should install Android antivirus to check it.
Also, pay attention to your telephone bill and track the numbers. If you have started receiving an increased telephone bill, you should double check your month's report. There is a high possibility that the infection has signed you up for some premium service. To save the money, you have to take care of Android virus removal on your device.
To prevent such threats, you should think about Android antivirus software. However, some experts claim that prevention of such malware does not require security apps because Android is safer than other operating systems, but they also agree that you need to think about prevention techniques to save yourself from such viruses.
Mobile viruses mostly spread via free third-party app stores
Android virus has been actively spread via third-party apps that have to be installed on the phone manually. However, new methods used for distributing this threat have started spreading around and today you can get infected with this virus by clicking on malicious link as well.
In most of the cases, people download this threat to their devices in a bundle with unlicensed or experimental apps that are actively promoted on Google Play store and similar locations.
To avoid this, we highly recommend you to download your apps only from legitimate app stores that check every program before they start promoting it. Google Play Store, Amazon and Samsung can be trusted in this case. Besides, even if you select any of these app stores, you should still double check the app before downloading it to your device because you can never know what kind of malware is hiding in it.
If you are interested in cyber security, you must have already heard about hackers who managed to add their malicious app to the Google Play store and collected more than 10.000 downloads before it was revealed. Also, it has been reported about affected websites that can download an infected app to your phone automatically.
To keep your device clean and ensure protection against Android virus, you should stop visiting suspicious/illegal sites and never click links that may show up for you while visiting them. Finally, we believe that it is time to think about mobile antivirus that could help people prevent installation of malicious apps, including Android malware.
The list of infected Android apps (malware list)
Com.google.provision virus operates as malicious script which downloads and installs unknown applications into Android system. Unfortunately, the infection does not target Android users, but has its variations occupying PC and tablet devices.
Since the introduction of Device Administration tool on Android 2.2, this Android malware has more chances to rampage on the system. You will not likely to detect it on your own.
At the moment, the only trustworthy method to delete the virus is to install a mobile version of malware elimination tool and eradicate it. Unfortunately, factory settings reset does not help terminate infection but you can try.
Com.android.system.ui malware is another version of Android virus. It most likely to fish for users in insecure websites and shady applications. Most usually, it manifests a tendency to install unwanted software into a device as well. Scan the device with malware elimination tool and check the list of system apps.
Com.android.gesture.builder virus is also programmed to install potentially malicious apps on the systems. Be wary of the content and apps you download other than Google Play store. On the other hand, past incidents reveal that it is not safe to download even apps from the mentioned store. Therefore, having malware elimination tool becomes more relevant than ever before.
NotCompatible virus is a dangerous Android virus that acts as a proxy. As soon as it gets into its target system, it connects to its server and waits for specific commands. There have been many speculations that this malware is capable of connecting affected devices into a botnet and then turning them into spam machines.
Some part of security experts has warned that NotCompatible malware can easily be used to steal personal information from the phone or similar device. To protect yourself from these issues, we highly recommend you to download mobile antivirus. It will help you to prevent infiltration of such and similar threats.
Lastacloud virus is a trojan horse also known as Android.Lastacloud. It has been actively spread as updates for WhatsApp and Android Browser that present themselves as Updatecom.whatsapp.update and com.androidbrowser.update. Once inside the device, this threat seeks to steal personal information, such as contact list, accounts that are assessed thru the device by the victim, the internal and external storage, and similar data.
It can also try to infect the system with other cyber threats. Almost each of reputable Android antivirus programs can help you to remove Lastacloud virus from the system. Please, do NOT postpone its removal because this virus can lead you to serious problems.
Android Police Virus is a newly-designed version of FBI virus, which is capable of infecting Android OS. Today, it is the most dangerous example of Android virus because it can block the entire system and encrypt each of files that are installed on it.
Also, it can cause warning messages and redirects to malicious websites seeking to make people pay the ransom for its developers. It is hard not to notice the infiltration of this virus. If you are infected, you should avoid visiting websites that require adding your logins and passwords. Of course, you need to remove Android malware ASAP.
Android ransomware is a malicious mobile phone threat that uses a clickjacking technique to get admin rights on the victimized Android device. However, it can also infiltrate the device thru malicious apps, such as Porn ‘O’ Mania. To avoid infected apps, you should use only official stores, such as Google Play and Appstore.
Once Android ransomware infects the system, it encrypts victim's files and locks it down. It also threatens the user and claims to share victim's data and browsing history with the people on the contacts list. This virus must be removed immediately.
Svpeng virus is Android ransomware which was introduced in 2014. However, it seems that it is still active – in 2016 Android users were struck by a huge wave of this virus causing serious problems on their phones and tablets. What does this malware cause?
It is a typical “lockscreen” parasite that blocks the screen of the phone with a fake warning message from FBI. In reality, people who are working behind Svpeng ransomware do not have any connections to FBI. They are seeking just to trick their victims into paying the fake ransom. Please, do NOT fall for these claims. You need to remove Svpeng from the system by resetting your Android device to factory settings.
Mazar malware is not a traditional version of Android virus. This threat spreads via text messages that are filled with infected links. Once the victim clicks such seemingly-legitimate link, Android OS gets infected with the malicious software that starts running dangerous activities behind your back.
Typically, it starts monitoring the phone or other Android device, changes its settings according to its needs, sends SMS to premium numbers, and initiates illegal connections via the Internet. Those who are connected to are granted with administrator rights, so they can do whatever they want. There is no doubt that you must remove Mazar virus from your device. Otherwise, you can loose your banking data and similar information.
Smart cars-hacking Android malware was introduced by virus researchers at the end of November 2016. According to the company which is known as Promon, it was used by them to hack into the official Android application of Tesla that allows finding the car, opening its door and starting the engine.
To perform these commands, Android malware modifies the source code of the official Tesla app at first. Then, it shares victim's username and password with the attackers and helps them steal the car. However, the virus, which was tested by Promon researchers, does not rely on any security vulnerabilities of the Tesla app. According to the company, it has to be installed manually with the help of social engineering and similar techniques.
However, the virus, which was tested by Promon researchers, does not rely on any security vulnerabilities of the Tesla app. According to the company, it has to be installed manually with the help of social engineering and similar techniques.
Gooligan malware has corrupted over 86 applications, such as Youtube Downloader, Kiss Browser, Memory booster, Demo, Perfect Cleaner, Battery Monitor, System Booster, etc. It seems that all system performance and browser-related programs and gaming, as well as pornographic applications, risk becoming the carriers of Gooligan. Over 74% of all Android phones might be vulnerable to this new version of the virus.
After the infection process is complete, the malware roots the device and enables full access to install more malicious elements. Such activity is done for the sole purpose of stealing your personal information such as login data to banking accounts.
Interestingly, Ghost Push virus, which hit the stage last year, provided a foundation for the current malware. Needless to say, the improved version is much more treacherous.
HummingWhale virus. This malicious virus is an updated copy of HummingBad malware which is known for its massive attacks against Android users. Back in 2016, this virus managed to wreak havoc on approximately 10 million Android devices. Recently, HummingBad appeared in a new form and a new name, and this time it is dubbed HummingWhale malware.
HummingWhale malware was apparently available on Google Play Store for a while in the form of 20 various applications, most of them being called [random word] Camera. Examples include Rainbow Camera, Whale Camera, Ice Camera, Hot Camera, and similar applications.
The malware used to set up a virtual machine on the infected device, stealthily install extra applications on the device and serve annoying advertisements for the user. Once the user closed an ad, the malware uploaded already installed shady program to the virtual machine to create a fake referrer ID, which is used to generate revenue.
HummingBad virus. First discovered on February 2016, malware has already infected more than 10 million Android users. The malware had been spreading via “drive-by download attacks, ” and users got infected after visiting particular malicious websites. In the January 2017, malware has been spotted actively spreading again on Google Play store as HummingWhale application.
After infiltration, HummingBad malware gets access to the core of the smartphone’s operating system. Then, it starts delivering misleading ads and displaying alerts about necessary system updates. When users click on these advertisements, developers of the application generate revenue. However, it’s not the main problem.
Malware also gets full access to the infected device and can steal users’ private information, such as contacts, logins, credit card or banking information. For this reason, it’s crucial to remove HummingBad as soon as it shows up on the device.
Lockdroid ransomware. Also known as Android.Lockdroid.E, malware spreads as a pornography app “Porn ‘O’ Mania”. The virus uses social engineering techniques to get admin rights of the infected device. It aims to achieve this goal by using fake package installation. As soon as the installation is completed, Lockdroid virus gets full access to the device and encrypts data.
What is more, it can change the PIN and lock the device. In this way, malware elimination might become difficult. Malware uses clickjacking technique and attacks smartphones and tablets with Android 5.0 or newer versions of the OS. According to the Google, this malicious app cannot be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
GhostCtrl virus exploits an Android vulnerability to help its owners to get control over the device. It showed up in the middle of 2017 when it was found attacking Israeli hospitals, but it is not considered a new virus. However, according to some of
However, according to some of the security experts, malware is not going to stop – soon it can become a ransomware-type threat as this virus has also been found to have some locking capability as well.
It spreads presenting itself as a legitimate app, such as WhatsApp and Pokemon Go. Once inside the system, GhostCtrl malware drops a malicious Android application package (APK) and opens the backdoor of the system to provide a full access to victim's personal information, videos and audios. It can also reset passwords and call or send texts to victim's contacts.
Invisible Man. On July 2017, security experts discovered an updated and improved variant of Svpeng attacking banking app users in 23 countries. The virus spreads as a fake Flash Player app in the suspicious and insecure download websites. Fortunately, malware hasn't made it to Google Play Store.
However, when users install this malicious app, they give administrator rights to the device. As a result, cyber criminals can control it via Command and Control server.
The malicious program works a key-logger and collects credentials when a user logs in to the bank via a mobile app. Besides, Invisible Man malware can send and read messages, make and listen phone calls, open phishing URLs, and collect various information. It also prevents victims from removing its administrative rights, so it's removal becomes complicated.
LeakerLocker ransomware virus. In the middle of August 2017, malware researchers discovered LeakerLocker spreading via two apps available on Google Play Store. The malicious application was hiding under Wallpapers Blur HD” and “Booster & Cleaner Pro” apps.
One user's installed one of these programs, malware locks device's screen with a threatening message. According to it, this version of Android malware gained access to the sensitive data. If victim's don't pay the ransom within 72 hours, all the information will be leaked.
However, security experts doubt that malware can cause such damage and recommend eliminating LeakerLocker from the device with security software.
DoubleLocker ransomware virus. On September 2017, malware researchers spotted a new version of the mobile malware. It spreads as a fake Adobe Flash update. After the attack, it locks the device by replacing the PIN. Then it launches data encryption and demands to pay 0.0130 Bitcoins in order to unlock the device and recover files.
Additionally, malware might also steal money from PayPal and banking accounts. Therefore, removal of the virus should be performed ASAP. However, non-routed device owners might need to factory-reset infected phones to unlock it. Routed device users can use Android Debug Bridge (ADB) tool. Further, DoubleLocker removal has to be completed with security software.
LokiBot virus. Infostealer.Lokibot is a malicious application designed for Android smartphones. Once it gets on victim's device, it becomes capable of sending SMS messages and replying to them, use mobile browsers, address particular URLs and install SOCKS5 proxy.
As a result, victim's outgoing traffic can be redirected. The virus can also compose and display fake notifications for the user, prompting the victim to open a bank account. As soon as the victim does so, the virus loads a fake overlay of the login page and collects all login details that the victim enters into the provided fields.
The extent of this Trojan virus is growing rapidly, because it is being sold on dark web forums for approximately $2000, meaning that any wannabe-criminal can buy it and distribute it.
In October 2017, LokiBot malware became capable of becoming a ransomware virus. However, this feature becomes active only in case the victim detects Infostealer.LokiBot and attempts to delete it. The malicious app fails to apply encryption on victim's files but displays a screen-locking message anyway. The “Go_Crypt” function doesn't encrypt data but renames them anyway.
The screen-locking message says “Your phone is locked for viewing child p0rnography,” and demands a payment of $100 within 48 hours. Otherwise, according to the virus, the case “will be handed over to the police.”
Marcher Android Trojan. Alternatively known as ExoBot, the virus is known since 2013. However, in November researchers reported about a massive campaign that started in January 2017. The virus aims at Bank Austria users and tricks them into installing fake “Bank Austria Security App.” The recent version of the Marcher virus uses clever social engineering techniques to steal sensitive users' information, including banking credentials, date of birth, name, and other personally identifiable information.
Marcher distribution campaign is complicated. It brings malware to the smartphone, tries phishing credentials and stealing banking information, and finally emptying victim's bank account. The biggest trick is that attackers use original Bank Austria design and interface. Users are advised to stay away from suspicious emails or SMS messages from this bank and check necessary information directly from the bank's website without clicking provided links in the phishing email.
Tizi Android virus. Google reported about Tizi malware in November 2017. The virus works as a spyware and is designed to steal personal information from social media apps, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, WhatsApp, etc. Malware might also record calls, access SMS, take pictures and complete many other tasks that put Android user's privacy at risk.
Tizi virus might also get root access by exploiting system vulnerabilities or tricking a user into giving such permission during the installation of a malicious app. Some of the infected apps were available on Google Play Store since 2015. However, the majority of them are spreading via third-party apps. At the moment, Google reports that about 1.300 Android devices were infected with the spyware.
General Android virus removal guide
If your device is infected with Android virus, you can run into these problems:
- The loss of sensitive information. Malicious apps that are used to infect Android OS can collect different kinds of data. Such information includes contacts, logins, e-mail addresses and similar information that is important for attackers.
- Money loss. The most of Android malware is capable of sending messages to premium-rate numbers or subscribing users to premium services. This can lead you to the money loss and similar issues.
- Infiltration of malware. Android virus can try to take over your device and infect it with other malware. It can also cause annoying ads, pop-up alerts, and fake warning messages.
- Performance-related issues. When infected with such threat, you may notice system instability problems, slow downs and similar problems.
If you think that your device is infected, we highly recommend you to scan it with Reimage or some other reliable Android virus cleaner. It will help you detect malicious files and other fraudulent components on your device. Sometimes viruses block security software in order to avoid their elimination. If that is the case, you should reboot your Android device into Safe Mode before launching your Android antivirus to disable third-party apps (and malware as well) from running:
- Find the power button and press it for a couple of seconds until you see a menu. Tap the Power off.
- Once you see a dialog window that offers you to reboot your Android to Safe Mode, select this option and OK.
If this failed to work for you, just turn off your device and then turn it on. Once it becomes active, try pressing and holding Menu, Volume Down, Volume Up or Volume Down and Volume Up together to see Safe Mode. If that doesn't work, then search the phrase “How to put into Safe mode” and add your phone's model. Then, follow the instructions.
You can also try to perform Android virus removal manually by uninstalling the malicious app yourself. However, you should be very careful when trying to do so because you may remove useful files and apps from your device. For manual Android virus removal, please follow these steps:
- Reboot your device into Safe Mode with the help of steps that are given above.
- When in Safe Mode, go to Settings. Once there, click on Apps or Application manager (this may differ depending on your device).
- Here, look malicious app(s) and uninstall all of them.
We also recommend turning off the option that allows installing apps that belong to unknown sources. For that, go to Settings -> Security. Once there, turn off this option.
Factory reset might be needed to remove Android malware
If nothing helps you remove Android malware from your phone or tablet, you should reset it to its factory settings. For that, you need to perform these steps:
- Click the Settings icon on your device. You can find it among other apps.
- Select Privacy (or Personal) and Factory reset (you can also find it as Factory data reset, Backup & reset, etc.). We recommend selecting Back up my data to protect it from the loss.
- Click Reset device to remove Android virus and other storage from your device.