Cheetah Mobile, creator of one of the most popular mobile antivirus apps on Android, conducts research into new malware that pops up. Obviously, this is part and parcel with running an antivirus. Naturally, this research can often lead to at least being able to speculate hackers' reasons for creating malware, whether just for kicks, as an experiment or, of course, for money. The "Hummer" family of trojan horse viruses for Android is definitely an example of the latter, according to CM's research. Just how good of an example is it? The research estimates that the group of hackers behind the original Hummer virus and its variants are gaining roughly $500,000 per day between the lot of them.
Like many other trojans for Android, Hummer starts off as a ride-along from an app that a user has installed, hidden away deep within the app, usually obtained outside of the Play Store from a user-run outfit like Aptoide or an app blog. Even more official app stores, like Amazon or China's Baidu can be susceptible, depending on how their security works. Once inside, the trojan tries different methods until it achieves root privileges. From there, the floodgates can be opened. Accessing the network to transmit data, installing and opening apps the user didn't want, displaying ads at random over other apps and even sending unauthorized text messages to premium numbers are all fair game for a Hummer family trojan that's gotten into a phone and made itself at home. In its heyday, the family of trojans was hitting its stride in a good 1.4 million devices per day, according to CM's research.
On average, an app developer will pay a promoter about $0.50 per installation. Although the virus installed multiple apps each pass, Cheetah Mobile only factored in the cost of one install per infection. Still garnering over a million infections per day right now, the family of viruses would be pulling in about $500,000 per day, which would be distributed among the various programmers who hacked together the virus and its cousins. CM's CM Security and Clean Master apps, as well as their Stubborn Trojan Killer app, all available from the Play Store, can help users who have found themselves a part of the Hummer family's victim network, with the first two apps helping with prevention and the Stubborn Trojan Killer app doing exactly what it says on the tin.