Top security software developers AVG have discovered a new type of malware that is currently infecting Android devices which users should be aware of. Before we get into the details, the good news is that AVG reports the malware was first seen in China and was/is being distributed via Chinese app stores, with a total infected number of around 10,000 from the time AVG post their report. This is good news because it could mean less of a chance for people outside the Chinese market to have their phones infected. Nevertheless, any malware like the one AVG discovered is still something to pay attention to and look out for unless noted otherwise by security experts.
So what does this malware do? The basics of it is that it hijacks a users device through the shut down process albeit with required root permissions to get the job done. AVG also notes that the malware only infects devices that are running on older versions of Android below Android 5.0 Lollipop. After the malware infects a user’s device it proceeds to emulate the shutdown process so the user believes the phone is powering off, yet in reality it is still powered on and fully functional, with the hacker having access to use multiple functions and features of the phone, like taking pictures, making calls and competing other tasks all unbeknownst to the user.
In the short of things, any users who don’t have a rooted device and/or are running a device with Android 5.0 Lollipop on it shouldn’t be infected with the malware, although it is noted that devices with fairly deep access permissions(non-rooted) can still be susceptible. Those with root access to their device on Android 4.4 and below should be aware that this malware exists and be weary of where they download their apps. This means it would be a good idea to only download apps from the Play Store, however if you’re going to be sideloading applications you should make sure that the app is trusted and won’t be a danger to your device and the personal data within it. You can find more details about the technical side of things within AVG’s full report.