Google has just issued this malware warning to all Android users – best life

For most, this means keeping your smartphone safe, typically not leaving it unattended in public or locking it with a password. After all, your phone’s access to everything from your stored personal data to bank accounts makes it a particularly sensitive piece of equipment. However, if you are an Android user, you may want to be extra careful in the face of a newly discovered security threat. Read on to see what can endanger your device.

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In a recent blog post, financial cybersecurity firm ThreatFabric announced that it had discovered a dangerous new piece of malware targeting Android phones. The illegal software is the latest version of “Octo”, a notorious bank malware program that can give hackers full control over devices that accidentally install it – including access to your personal information and financial accounts, The American sun reports.

woman using Android phone from behind

According to ThreatFabric, Octo is the latest development in a series of programs known as remote access trojans (RATs) available to criminals on the dark web. After unsuspecting victims download the malware, it can secretly run in the background to my information and even commit fraud. The program also allows hackers to control the volume, push notifications and screen brightness, making the phone’s display appear black or off, allowing them to access the device continuously.

Like other malware, Octo also includes a keylogger to lift personal data and passwords, the ability to intercept and send text messages, the ability to launch applications, and control of the home screen lock.

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Experts warn that the program is spreading by using a website or landing page that produces a fake browser or software update request. However, the software is even included in apps that were previously available on Google’s official download marketplace.

“ExobotCompact / Octo has dangerous properties, driven by inventive distribution schemes, including droppers at the official Google Play Store and malicious landing pages,” wrote ThreatFabric. “Thus, it is very likely that customers will fall into installing the malware on their devices, allowing actors to gain remote access to their devices and therefore to their bank accounts.”

To avoid infecting your phone with Octo or other malware, it’s always best to be careful about which apps and apps you install on your devices, reports technology blog Tom’s Guide. And while you should always stick to reputable download sources, even official app markets can sometimes miss hidden malicious codes in apps. To stay on top of any threats, consider activating Play Protect by tapping your profile icon next to the search bar and clicking the Gear icon on your device. From there, make sure the “Scan apps with Play Protect” and “Improve the detection of malicious apps” options are turned on.

A young man using an Android phone in a coffee shop

This is not the only major security vulnerability recently discovered for Android products. In a blog post from April 1, the cybersecurity research group Lab52 issued a warning that it had discovered a malicious piece of software that was capable of infecting smartphones. The program, known as “Process Manager”, can be sneakily downloaded to devices and then used to send personal information to hackers.

According to Lab52, users usually download the app accidentally after clicking on a link they received via text message or email on their device. From there, the malware will display a false warning message giving it access to the phone’s camera and microphone and allowing it to read text messages, emails, call logs, contact information and the exact location of the device. The app will then continue to run in the background to collect information that can be sent back to hackers and used to exploit or blackmail victims, The American sun reports.

To ensure that your phone is free of spyware, experts recommend that you double-check which apps are allowed to access your device’s camera, microphone, and messaging. You can do this by tapping Settings and then searching for “Apps” or “Apps and notifications” before clicking “Permissions”. If some applications you do not recognize have access to your device, you must revoke them immediately.

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