Android users have been hit by another malware known as CopyCat, which has reportedly infected around 14 million Android devices across the globe. According to security company Check Point, this new form of malware is targeting older versions of the Android OS, specifically devices running Android 5.0 or earlier.
The malware is primarily targeting Asian users, but many Android devices in markets such as the United States and Canada have also been hit. As many as 280,000 Android devices in the US and around 381,000 in Canada have reportedly been victimized by CopyCat.
CopyCat targets older versions of Android
The malware is targeting the older versions of Android as it seeks to exploit vulnerabilities in the outdated versions of the OS. While Google has already removed CopyCat in Play Protect, but it seems Copy Cat makes its way through infected apps distributed via third-party stores.
Once it lands on your device, it collects pieces of information and installs malicious malware, eventually compromising your device’s security. It even gives hackers root access to your device, evading your device’s security systems and giving them full control over the device.
Once it gains access, the malware keeps a track of apps installed on your device and throws up ads of its own, thereby allowing hackers to generate ad revenue. Security Agency Check Point also stated that hackers made around $1.5 million in ad revenue with 100 million ads and 4.9 million unauthorized apps that were installed on infected devices.
Reports suggest that the malware likely has its origins in China, though there’s no confirmation as of now. That said, Check Point did mention they found some connections with Chinese ad network MobiSummer. Also, the security company revealed that hackers have whitelisted Chinese users, implying their devices have not been hit by the malware. Now, this could possibly be to avoid raising any flags and evade investigation by local authorities.
As already mentioned, the CopyCat malware is targeting devices running Android 5.0 and earlier. Google warns its users that they fully update their device to defend against the malware. Also, downloading and installing Android apps from authentic and trusted sources is another way to stay secure.