Criminals Infect Over Four Million Android Phones With Malware

Hackers targeted over four million Android phones, tablets, and other smartphones with malicious malware. Criminals are hacking Android phones various ways.

For example, they send spam to victims from email accounts they previously hijacked. According to Lookout, a San Francisco-based mobile security company, this type of infectious spamming technique occurs more than 20,000 times each day.

Criminals use a malicious mobile malware known as “NotCompatible” to infect Android phones and other smartphones. Initially, the hackers infect a legitimate website with malicious code. When the victim visits the website from their phone, they unknowingly download the code. This is referred to as a “drive-by-download.”

Still, another unlawful approach used by criminals is tricking potential victims. They send an email to the victim with a virus attached disguised as a so-called Android phone system “security patch.”

Yet, an additional scheme they apply entails spamming emails to Android phones with weight loss solutions for the unsuspecting victims. However, the emails actually contain the malware.

Lookout security researcher, Jeremy Linden had this to say to Agence France-Presse about the spread of mobile malware to Android phones and other devices.

“Mobile is becoming the dominant computing platform and, because it is so ubiquitous, we are seeing heightened malware targeting it. Mobile malware is becoming very advanced and rapidly reaching parity with PC malware.”

Controlling Android phones, tablets, and other smartphones is the goal of the architects of crime, according to Lookout. An additional illegal approach the criminals use is getting into a victim’s Android phone to purchase hot concert tickets and then they sell the tickets at inflated prices.

Lookout’s researcher told the New York Times the NotCompatible’s authors infect as many Android phones and other smartphones, as they can and turn them into a botnet. A botnet is also referred to as a “zombie-army,” a huge number of compromised computers used to pass on viruses, produce spam, or inundate a web server or network with excessive and unnecessary requests to make it crash.

The people behind NotCompatible are running their illegal operation like a business. The criminal’s malware directs infected devices to share intelligence, look for, and communicate with other infected devices, like Android phones, tablets and other smartphones.

People using infected smartphones when working are at risk of getting the virus and could present an opening for hackers to slip into a company’s network. Malicious malware is also quite costly. For example, criminals are adding data charges on many unsuspecting victim’s Android phones, which they end up having to pay for.

[Photo courtesy of Blogmost]