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September 23, 2018

Android users beware: HummingBad virus is back

A file photo of an android device.
A file photo of an android device.

HummingBad is an Android malware (virus) discovered by Check Point securities in February 2016.

In July 2016, researchers from security firm Check Point Software said the malware installs more than 50,000 fraudulent apps each day, displays 20 million malicious advertisements, and generates more than $300,000 per month in revenue.

Android is currently the world’s most popular mobile operating system, which runs on more than 80 per cent of all smartphones as well as tablets.

Last year only, the virus was able to infect as many as 85 million Android phones around the globe.

This time round, the virus is back but with a new name, HummingWhale.

What this virus does is it gains “root access” to your Android, that is at the very heart of your phone’s operating system.

The malware is hidden in more than 20 apps in the Google Play store, and if these are installed, the virus begins to download software behind the owner's back.

The virus is worse as after it has gained access and is in your O.S,  it can do whatever the creator wants it to do without you actually knowing. Be it from stealing your bank details for those who bank online to deleting your documents.

Apps with probable fake five star ratings entice users to download them thinking that they are best only for them to install them and then the malware downloads itself into your gadget.

Upon downloading the app, HummingWhale will start sending users fake ads that will become increasingly harmful to them if opened.

The apps affected were uploaded using the names of fake Chinese developers, and all have a 1.3MB file called 'assets/group.png' – a suspiciously large file that matched many of the traits seen in HummingBad. 

How would you know if you are affected?

If your phone starts displaying unusual advertisements, or you start running out of data on your mobile plan a lot sooner than usual, then you might be infected.

 If you start receiving unexpected “system update” notifications, prompting you to probably install a new app, or finding apps on your phone that you didn’t put there, and the battery draining more rapidly than normal, well… you might be infected. Security experts however claim that the chances of you knowing are very minimal so you might never know.

Ensure your phone is up to date with a recognised anti virus to ensure that you do not suffer in the end. You might just have to buy a new phone!

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