Cybercrooks have a knack for finding and exploiting methods to steal valuable data from computer users and mobile device users. In the latest quest of cybercrooks to pilfer personal information from mobile users, a new type of Android malware is being spread as a data-stealing threat that is disguised as a Google Chrome mobile browser update.
The security firm Zscaler was able to spot the Android malware and uncover its ability to perform many malicious activities that ultimately collect personal data from an infected Android device. Among those actions, Zscaler found that the new Android malware can monitor browser history, text messages, call logs and collect banking information sent on an infected device. Worst of all, the Android malware collects all of its data and sends it to a remote command and control server, which is where hackers and cybercrooks could obtain the stolen information and potentially put users at risk of identity theft. Additionally, armed with the proper online banking account information, the Android malware would allow cybercrooks to access bank accounts and potentially steal or redirect funds to other accounts.
We are well versed on how malware threats are commonly masked as other applications or simple updates for popular programs. In the case of the recent Android malware found by Zscaler, the threat can masquerade as a Google Chrome mobile browser update. Usually, Android users are prompted to update their Google Chrome mobile browser application, and the update download turns out to be a vicious Android malware threat that steals data.
Android users have long been huge targets for malicious threats due to the open environment of the Android operating system. Furthermore, Android users are free to download and install a vast variety of third-party apps, which are sometimes found to be malicious or have gaping security holes that allow attackers to exploit.
One of the more discerning facts about the recent Android malware infecting devices through bogus Google Chrome browsers is that the threat is resilient when it comes to removal. In fact, the Android malware can only be completely removed through a factory reset on an infected Android device.
Android device users who have encountered the new malware threat that masks under an alleged Google Chrome mobile browser update will want to reassess their method of obtaining apps for their device. We say this because most Android users who contract malware on their devices have visited third-party app providers and sites, which are all outside of the Google Play store.
Staying within the Google Play store will at least provide a controlled environment where apps are free from malware, for the most part. However, there are cases where certain apps have slipped onto the Google Play Store only to be ousted as malicious. Still, the best approach is a proactive approach to evade Android malware by exclusively using the Google Play Store to download apps for your device.