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Sunday, 12 March 2017 08:48

Android malware installed on mobiles before sale Featured

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Thirty-eight Android mobile devices used by two businesses have been found to be infected with malware which was apparently installed at some point in the supply chain.

The multinational software provider Check Point Software Technologies said in a blog post that the presence of the malware was detected by a commercial malware scanner.

It said that in six cases, the malware was installed by an individual who had system privileges which meant that the malicious software could only be removed by flashing the device back to the factory default.

None of the malware was part of the official ROM supplied by the vendors.

Most of the malware installed were information stealing apps and rough ad networks. There was one case of a mobile ransomware app, Slocker.

"Slocker uses the AES encryption algorithm to encrypt all files on the device and demand ransom in return for their decryption key. Slocker uses Tor for its C&C communications," Check Point said.

Of the rough ad networks installed, the most notable one was Loki.

"This complex malware operates by using several different components; each has its own functionality and role in achieving the malware’s malicious goal," Check Point said.

"The malware displays illegitimate advertisements to generate revenue. As part of its operation, it steals data about the device and installs itself to system, allowing it to take full control of the device and achieve persistency."

The devices that were infected included:

  • Galaxy Note 2
  • LG G4
  • Galaxy S7
  • Galaxy S4
  • Galaxy Note 4
  • Galaxy Note 5
  • Galaxy Note 8
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
  • Galaxy A5
  • ZTE x500
  • Galaxy Note 3
  • Galaxy Note Edge
  • Galaxy Tab S2
  • Galaxy Tab 2
  • Oppo N3
  • vivo X6 plus
  • Nexus 5
  • Nexus 5X
  • Asus Zenfone 2
  • LenovoS90
  • OppoR7 plus
  • Xiaomi Redmi
  • Lenovo A850

Check Point did not mention the names of the two businesses which had been affected.


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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