A cryptocurrency mining Trojan is lurking behind anti-virus and adult Android apps and can kill your phone if it gets infected.
Discovered by cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab, the Loapi Trojan is a piece of jack-of-all-trades Android malware.
Once it has wormed its way onto a device either through an infected app or by a victim clicking on malicious banner advert, Loapi can gain administrative rights by spamming an infected Android device with notifications asking for such privileges until a frustrated victim gives them to it knowingly or through a mistaken touchscreen tap.
After it has gained administrator rights, Loapi’s modular nature means in can be used to carry different malware payloads such as serving up annoying adverts, signing up users to paid subscriptions, turning it into a ‘zombie’ device to be used in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, and carry out cryptocurrency mining. The latter is the most concerning part.
Cryptocurrency mining involves using processing power to crunch complex calculations to generate digital currency such as Bitcoin and Monero.
This can put even powerful desktop processors under strain and Kaspersky Lab found that its infected Android phone – no model was specified – had its chipset worked at full load causing the device to overheat withing 48 hours and kill the phone.
“The surprisingly unexpected risk which this malware brings is that even though it can’t cause direct financial damage to the user by stealing their credit card data, it can simply destroy the phone,” said Nikita Buchka, a security expert at Kaspersky Lab.
“This is not something you would expect from an Android Trojan, even a sophisticated one.”
Android users should always exercise a degree of caution when downloading apps that may seem a little off or potentially fake, and avoid downloading any apps that aren’t on the official Google Play Store.
Even then some apps can get onto Play, so it’s worth having cyber security software in place to shield against such threats.
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