Cybersecurity researchers at the Kaspersky Lab intentionally infected an Android phone with a new species of nefarious malware. Two days later, the overtaxed phone battery had bulged and actually warped the phone.
The researchers call this malware a “jack of all trades,” as the virus fully exploits the phone’s computing power to mine cryptocurrencies, flood contacts with text messaging spam, overwhelm the phone with ads, and more. In fact, after witnessing the phone warp, the researches noted that “the only thing missing is user espionage,” meaning the malware didn’t spy on or monitor the phone owner’s activities.
This trojan virus — malware that’s disguised as legitimate software — was found disguised behind more than 20 ads advertising themselves as either anti-virus or porn apps, according to Kaspersky. This certainly doesn’t mean trojans are limited to these sort of apps. They can hide anywhere.
Malicious software lurks most everywhere these days — even, at times, in the Google Play app store and Apple’s App Store. Nowhere is truly safe, but the official app stores have a substantially more secure auto-approval process.
Still, you should be prepared for nasty software to pop up even there from time to time, until users (hopefully quickly) notify Google or Apple of the deceptive software. This “jack of all trades” malware was a novel discovery, however, even for researchers who work in the deep, dark corners of the cybersecurity world.
Once loaded with such malware, it’s likely that any infected phone will be mostly unusable, so on the bright side, you’ll probably shut it down before it has a chance to begin mining cryptocurrencies for a couple days, overload, and warp.