Android malware is a serious issue that affects millions of people, no matter what you hear from Google. It’s one of the reasons the iPhone is still better than Android after all these years.
We recently learned about a new type of malicious application can masquerade as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Uber to harm users, and now a new report notes that a trojan-type of Android application has infected millions of users, netting the Chinese group of hackers who developed it about $500,000 per day at one point.
A new report from the Cheetah Mobile Security Research Lab details Hummer, this newly discovered family of malware apps. In the first half of the year, the Hummer trojan infected nearly 1,4 million devices per day – see the following graphic.
The security firm estimates that the virus developer made $0.50 every time the virus installed an application on a smartphone, or over $500,000 per day at its peak.
When a device is Hummer’d, the malware app will root the handset or tablet to obtain administrator privileges. Then, it will display pop-up ads and install apps silently in the background, including other malware. One of the side-effects of the malware is that it will consume a lot of data, which could incur overage fees. A Cheetah test showed that the trojan accessed the network 10,000 times to download 200 APKs, consuming 2GB of network traffic in the process.
It’s not unreasonable to assume that all that action could also significantly decrease performance and battery life on certain devices.
Hummer is the number one trojan across the world, Cheetah says, and the virus can’t be removed with factory resets or by some antivirus tools. The company says its antivirus Android apps have all been updated to clear it.
As always, the best way to avoid malware on Android is to refrain from installing apps from untrusted sources. In fact, rather than sideloading apps, simply download them from the Google Play Store, even if that means you have to pay for some of them.