June 18, 2021
Android malware

Android Malware was Pre-Installed on Hundreds of Devices, Report Finds

Android malware is a big problem, being found pre-installed on hundreds of phones, mostly affecting low-cost devices and wreaking havoc…

A new report from Avast Threat Labs shows there are literally hundreds of phones shipped with Android malware pre-installed. Those impacted are primarily low-cost devices, such as ZTE, myPhone, and Archos. Moreover, these are often not certified by Google

Report Reveals Android Malware Pre-Installed on Hundreds of Phones

Affected phones display pop-up ads, and other user irritants. And, since it’s pre-installed on devices at the firmware level, it’s nearly impossible to remove. However, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Lenovo infamously shipped brand new PCs with the “Superfish” malware in the past. 

While there are a few variants of the corrupters, they basically work in the same way. The malware infects apps, cause call drops, and are tucked away in a hidden list, usually in the system application settings. The files download a small manifest, which then manipulates apps and other features. 

Celverly, the payload APK contains Google, Facebook, and Baidu ad frameworks which detects and avoids any antivirus software trying to identify it and root it out. The top countries affected are Russia, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France.

After discovering the problem, Avast contacted Google, which “has taken steps to mitigate the malicious capabilities of many app variants on several device models, using internally developed techniques,” the company reports.