Protect Your Android Phones from Android ‘System Update’ Malware

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Security researchers at Zimperium zLabs have discovered a new ‘sophisticated’ Android malware posing as a software update application. This malware becomes more lethal when it sits stealthily masqueraded as a system update.

Once the malware is downloaded on a device, the victim’s device is registered with the Firebase Command and Control (C2), upon which a hacker can send commands via Firebase messaging service to manage data theft. The process of data exfiltration starts once a condition is fulfilled, including the addition of a new mobile contact, app installation, or a receipt of an SMS text.

“When the victim is using Wi-Fi, all the stolen data from all the folders are sent to the C2, whereas when the victim is using a mobile data connection, only a specific set of data is sent to C2,” security researcher at Zimperium zLabs stated.

According to a report by researchers at Zimperium, this malware has the capability of stealing your data once it is installed into your Android phone. Once in control, cybercriminals can record audio and phone calls, take photos, access WhatsApp texts, steal instant messenger texts, peer into GPS location data, examine the default browser’s bookmarks, search for files with specific extensions, inspect the clipboard data, the content of the notifications, steal SMS texts and call logs, list the downloaded applications and even extract device information. 

Security researchers have termed the malware as ‘FakeSysUpdate’ which is quite capable of concealing its source. Unfortunately, researchers have not detected the source of this malware but advised the Android users to remain vigilant regarding the content on their device. Frequently check for official updates, uninstall all the apps that you feel are necessary, and also avoid installing apps from a third-party source.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Shridhar Mittal, CEO of Zimperium zLabs stated that “it’s easily the most sophisticated attack we’ve seen…I think a lot of time and effort was spent on creating this app. We believe that there are other apps out there like this, and we are trying our very best to find them as soon as possible.”

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