Following last week’s report on the CopyCat Android malware that affected 14 million devices in 2016, a fresh report this week has discovered a new Android malware, called SpyDealer, that can steal data from over 40 popular apps including Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, Telegram and more, potentially exposing personal data of millions of Android users.
The SpyDealer malware is reportedly effective only on devices that are running older Android operating systems, specifically between versions 2.2 Froyo and 4.4 KitKat. Considering that Froyo is no longer running on active Android devices and going by this month’s Android distribution numbers, it looks like around 26 percent of active Android users around the world are potentially vulnerable to the malware. And with a total of two billion active Android devices, this translates to around 500 million devices that can be attacked by the malware.
Researchers at Palo Alto Networks have found that the malware steals personal user information including phone numbers, messages, contacts, call history, connected Wi-Fi information and location of the device. Furthermore, it also has the ability to tap into phone calls and videos, take photos with both the front and rear camera, and screenshots that can capture personal information.
As of now, the researchers have not been able to figure out how devices become infected with SpyDealer, but they found some evidence that suggest that users in China were infected via compromised wireless networks. Having been active since October 2015, it’s unclear as to the capacity in which the malware has affected devices already and how much information has been stolen.
Google has been informed of the malware and the Internet search giant has reportedly created new protections through Google Play Protect to fight off the threat. The researchers say that some of the affected apps include WeChat, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, Line, Viber, QQ, Tango, Telegram, Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, Android Native Browser, Firefox Browser, Oupeng Brower, QQ Mail, NetEase Mail, Taobao, and Baidu Net Disk.