Watch out! This Android malware melds to your OS, and is near impossible to delete

history of malware android
Security company Lookout is warning Android device owners about a new type of malware app, which not only secretly roots your phone, but also installs itself as a system application — making it extremely difficult to remove. How difficult? If you’re not technically inclined enough to entirely replace the ROM, then a brand-new phone may be the easiest way to escape its clutches.

Lookout refers to the virus as trojanized adware, and it’s hiding inside apps that appear to be legitimate versions of very popular apps, including Facebook, Twitter, Candy Crush, NYTimes, Google Now, Snapchat, and WhatsApp. The company has even seen compromised versions of two-step authentication app Okta.

However, before you start desperately trying to uninstall those apps from your phone, the malware-infected versions aren’t the originals, and have only been discovered in third-party app stores, not Google Play. If you’ve only been playing inside Google’s store, then you should be fine.

The infected apps are very clever. Lookout has detected 20,000 examples, and most work in exactly the same way as the apps they copy, making it more difficult for you to detect and therefore, less likely to try and uninstall it. With root access to your phone, the app becomes ingrained in the OS, which is how it becomes almost impossible to delete. Once up and running, ads will be pushed to your phone, and worse, apps can be downloaded and installed without your consent. Why? Because delivering ads and installing apps make the attackers money.

Apps infected with the trojans — known as Shuanet, Kemoge/ShiftyBug, and Shedun/GhostPush — have been discovered in many parts of the world, with the U.S, Germany, Iran, Russia, India, Jamaica, Sudan, Brazil, Mexico, and Indonesia being the worst hit, according to the report. Lookout warns this type of adware attack will only get more sophisticated, and make better use of root access to a phone, over time.

If you’ve been downloading apps from Android app stores other than Google Play (Amazon is probably safe too), and are worried you may have fallen victim to the trojanized adware, there’s a sure way to find out. Remember, the infected apps almost certainly cannot be uninstalled. If you can drag and uninstall the app, chances are it’s fine. Lookout doesn’t provide a complete list of apps that have been targeted by the malware, but does say it’s popular “first-tier” apps that are repackaged and sent out.


415,000 routers worldwide reportedly infected with cryptojacking malware

Even though there is a fix ready to prevent the threat of a cryptojacking malware discovered in Brazil earlier this year, the rapid growth of infection caused by the malware shows that not many users have installed the patch.

These are the 5 best free antivirus apps to protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as choosing from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.

Protect yourself from the latest malware with the best free antivirus software

Malware, spyware, and adware is never fun to find on your PC. Check out our picks for the best free antivirus software, so you can rid your system of any dangerous software that might be lurking around.

Google to end support for Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich

Anyone with an old phone that is still running Android 4.0 may want to look into upgrading their phone, as Google has announced that it will be ending support for this older version of Android.

Amazon knocks $30 off its Paperwhite ebook reader in limited-time deal

Amazon is running a couple of limited-time deals for its Paperwhite ebook reader. One offers a $30 discount, while the other throws in a pair of headphones and a free, extended Audible trial.

New Galaxy S10 leaks showcase display sizes, confirm headphone jack return

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.

Android 9.0 updates to stretch into 2019 -- will your phone get a slice of Pie?

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.

LG G7 owners experiencing dreaded bootloop will have to wait a few days for fix

If you’ve picked up LG’s flagship and it’s not behaving itself, then you might find a solution here. We’ve rounded up the most common LG G7 ThinQ problems and tracked down workarounds and possible fixes.

A render video gives us a 360-degree look at the midrange Pixels

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.

Honor to out-megapixel the competition with 48MP camera on upcoming View 20

After its phenomenal success with the View 10 in 2018, it looks like Honor is getting ready up the ante with its forthcoming Honor View 20. Here's everything we know about it so far.

Xiaomi is preparing to set records with 48-megapixel phone camera

Bigger doesn't always mean better, but it certainly makes headlines. Chinese mobile giant Xiaomi is set to release a phone camera with a staggeringly large 48 megapixels on a single sensor.

Patent highlights Apple's sky-high ambitions for AirPower wireless charger

At its September event last year, Apple unveiled the AirPower -- its new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.