Warning: Chinese Malware Reportedly Infects 10 Million Android Devices

Android HummingBad

A new revelation put forward by a software maker claims that a Chinese malware has infected more than 10 million Android devices across the globe.

This is scary news, especially given that it is coming from a renowned Israeli-based cybersecurity company known as Check Point. According to the firm, the malware, dubbed HummingBad, is vast in a number of Asian countries, including China itself.

It is not the first time news of HummingBad malware is showing up. The story first appeared back in February and since then, Check Point says that it has been tracking the vulnerability. As a result, the company has moved in with a detailed analysis of the vulnerability, noting that the number of devices infected with the malware has shot up as from mid-May.

If Check Point is to be believed, it seems the HummingBad malware has been developed by an otherwise legitimate advertising analytics’ firm based in Beijing. The firm, which goes by the name Yingmob, has a number of different groups that are tasked with duties of developing legit tracking and ad platforms. However, the team behind the HummingBad Android malware is believed to be composed of 25 people and it is titled Development Team for Overseas Platform, Check Point notes.

HummingBad can be traced to drive-by download attacks where users’ devices are easily infected with malware once they visit a given website. First, the malware will try to access your device’s root. Once this is done, it is easy to gain full access to one’s device. Alternatively, another component will opt to use a fake system update notification to trick users into allowing HummingBad to access system-level permissions. However, this option will be chosen if access to the phone’s root fails.

Through forced downloading of apps and clicking of ads, Check Point says that Yingmob is able to generate up to $300,000 worth of monthly income. Still, this might not be the bigger issue here. The fact that the Chinese company is illegally acquiring users’ personal information and selling it to advertisers might be the real trouble. Apparently, more than 85 million Android devices have been installed with Yingmob apps.

Android HummingBad

Apart from Check Point, a Google spokesperson also claims that the search engine giant has been following the HummingBad Android malware for months now. As a result, the Android OS owner adds that it constantly improves the systems that are meant to detect the malware. This improvement further includes active blocking of any infected apps in order to ensure that Android users are safe.

While the malware is originating from China, the country’s Android devices are the most affected. According to Check Point, up to 1.6 million Android devices have been infected. This adds to another 1.35 million that have been infected in India. Other heavily affected areas include Indonesia, Philippines, and Turkey.

As for the U.S., about 290,000 devices have this problem whereas the UK and Australia have less than 100,000 Android devices infected with the HummingBad malware.

Yingmob has yet to make a statement regarding this matter.

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