Switched You Phone Off? Hackers Can Still Spy On You
Security experts have detected a type of Android malware that is tricking people in to thinking they have turned off their phone.
When you press the ‘Power off’ button the malware will show you a fake box designed to look like the real Android ‘Power off’ Menu.
The phone then shows a black screen, and looks like it has been switched off. You won’t see any notifications or get any alert sounds.
However the phone is still switched on. The malware has actually inserted a line of code into the Android’s shutting down process that lets the hackers remotely access the devices, theoretically allowing them to do what ever they wanted to your device.
They could for example, make calls and send text messages to a premium-rate number, which could cost you a small fortune. In effect, your phone becomes a device the hackers can use to spy on you.
The malware which has yet to be named was discovered by security researchers at AVG. In a blog post they said it originated in an unofficial Android app store in China, infecting devices when users downloaded the malicious apps. AVG said the malware has already infected 10,000 devices worldwide, all of them running Android KitKat (4.4) or earlier, but they did not reveal which apps contain the malware.
The best way to stay safe is make sure you only install apps from the Google Play Store.
AVG said that its free ‘Antivirus for Android’ app will find and remove the malware. Other security experts have said the only way to be completely sure your phone is off it to remove the battery but this is not always possible on the new smart phones.
Unlike the criminals behind ransomware, these devious hackers don’t want you to know your device is infected, because the longer you remain oblivious, the more money they can steal off you. It is relatively easy to stay safe, Rather than just removing your battery at the end of every night, which is not always possible, simply restrict your app downloads to the Goole Play Store. Hackers are now finding it a lot harder to smuggle malicious apps past Googles Security.