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A malware masquerading as System Update is attacking Android phones

The researchers say that once in control, hackers can record audio and phone calls, take photos, access WhatsApp messages, steal instant messenger messages and database files among other things.

The good news is that this malicious app was never available on the Google Play Store.
The good news is that this malicious app was never available on the Google Play Store. (Pixabay)

Do you own an Android smartphone? Then here’s a piece of information you shouldn’t ignore. Security researchers have discovered a new and aggressive strain of malware that is attacking Android smartphones. What makes this new malware more lethal than others is the fact that it cleverly hides by masquerading as a system update.

According to a report by researchers at Zimperium, this new malware disguises itself as a System Update application, which makes it hard to detect. Once installed, it takes control of Android phones stealing not only data but also messages and images among other things.

The researchers say that once in control, hackers can record audio and phone calls, take photos, access WhatsApp messages, steal instant messenger messages and database files, inspect the default browser’s bookmarks and searches, search for files with specific extensions, inspect the clipboard data, the content of the notifications, list the installed applications, steal images and videos, monitor users’ GPS location, steal SMS messages, phone contacts, steal call logs and even exfiltrate device information.

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Zimperium CEO Shridhar Mittal told TechCrunch that the malware is most likely a part of a targeted attack.

“It’s easily the most sophisticated we’ve seen...I think a lot of time and effort was spent on creating this app. We believe that there are other apps out there like this, and we are trying our very best to find them as soon as possible,” he told the publication.

Now, the good news is that this malicious app was never available on the Google Play Store. This means that as long as you continue to download the apps from the Play Store, you should be safe.

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