The updated Xavier Android malware was noticed spreading in Google Play store
Today we would like to introduce a new Android virus called Xavier. The virus belongs to the AdDown family that was first discovered in 2015. The virus itself was spotted in September 2016. However, authors updated it in order to spread it widely via Google Play Store.
The majority of victims who downloaded one of 800 infected applications were from Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia. Nevertheless, the virus mostly causes problems to Southeast region; several cases were reported in the United States and Europe.
The purpose of malware – stealing personal information
Xavier is a malicious ad library that enters the system as a Trojan. Malware might not only affect Android smartphones or tablets but TVs and game consoles as well. However, the majority of infections were noticed in mobile devices.
Among infected applications were photo manipulators, antivirus utilities, volume and speed boosters, etc. Applications seemed useful and millions of times users downloaded them from Google Play without thinking that their privacy might be at risk.
The success of the malware is based on its feature to evade detection. This sophisticated virus can bypass regular smartphone’s security. Thus, regular security software installed on the mobiles may not detect it.
On the affected smartphone Xavier might install APK files and initiate remote code access. Thus, hackers might get full access to the device and do whatever they want. They might clone your phone or install additional malware. Malware’s behavior depends on what tasks it receives from the remote Command and Control (C&C) server.
Protecting your smartphone from Xavier and other Android viruses
The main security tip to avoid Android malware was to avoid downloading apps from third-party websites and stick to Google Play. However, it seems that this tip is no longer very helpful. Of course, you should still keep away from unknown app sites, but you need to put more attention to smartphone’s security.
- Check information about publishers before installing a new app. Well-known developers are the ones you can trust.
- Read reviews of the app before installing. Pay attention to users’ complaints and do not install app with negative feedback.
- Read what permissions the app requires. If an application wants to get lots of information, you should not download it to protect your privacy.
- Invest in professional mobile security software.