A dangerous new form of malware called HummingBad has been discovered to have infected some 10 million Android devices. Here’s how you can deal with it.
HummingBad was first discovered by cyber security company Check Point back in February. It originates from a well-organised group of Chinese developers going by the name of Yingmob.
Interestingly, this group appears to be a legitimate advertising analytics company that just happens to have a side-line in malicious software. It is also responsible for the Yispecter iOS malware.
The HummingBad malware itself establishes a persistent rootkit on Android devices, as well as generating fraudulent ad revenue and installing additional fraudulent apps. These combine to generate around $300,000 per month in ad revenue for Yingmob.
Disturbingly, the developers are also able to sell access to infected phones, and to give away any information stored on them.
So, how can you tell if your Android phone is infected with HummingBad? And if it is, how can you remove the malware from your phone?
Any Android antivirus software worth its salt should now be able to detect the presence of HummingBad. As Cnet notes, the usual suspects such as Lookout, AVG and Avast are safe bets. Check Point’s own Zone Alarm will also do the trick.
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If one of these tools does uncover the presence of HummingBad, there’s only one sure-fire way to remove it – a factory data reset. Head into the ‘backup and reset’ section of the settings menu, ensure you’re all backed up, and hit that reset command.
And the main lesson you should learn from this? Don’t install apps from untrusted sources. Stick to the Google Play Store if at all possible. It’s not a fool-proof measure, but you’ll be far less likely to pick up nasty malware infections like HummingBad if you don’t stray outside of Google’s official app store.
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Have you ever had to remove malware from your phone? Share your experiences in the comments below.