Reports made available by Trend Micro earlier in the week showed that 800+ applications currently on offer as free apps on the Google play platform contain some dangerous, information stealing Virus called Xavier. This malware was said to have been first uncovered about two years ago. At the initial time, it wasn’t really seen to be a major threat.
Reports from experts, however, indicate that the malware has since grown to become the monster that it is today. Over the time of its existence, the malware has been pre-installed into different free Android applications and photo editors as well as wallpapers, through which it has found its way into the hands of users millions of times around the world without suspicion.
The Xavier virus is actually an “ad library’ that works as an element integrated into free applications so as to activate advertising as a source of income generation for their developers. Trend force was quoted as saying that the Xavier malware is quite different from other malware due to its many features such as its malicious behaviour that installs codes and executes same codes on the device that is the victim. it is also said to go to great lengths to shield itself from being found out via the use of certain techniques such as String encryption, internet data encryption, and emulator detection.”
What this means according to security professionals in Trend, is that, the virus has grown to become not only intelligent to avoid being found out by antivirus programs, but it has also been uniquely made to remotely collect a user’s details such as email, password, device identification number, password, OS versions, sim card service provider, model of device etc, also it is able to on its own download data retrieving codes from the server.
Information made available shows that Android users such as those in places Southeastern Asian countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia are among the highest number of victims of the Xavier assault; however, a limited number of downloads have been identified in America and the European continent.
It should be noted however that the Xavier intrusion is certainly not the first time the Google play store services will be breached by virus’s; as a matter of fact, it has occurred a couple of times in the past few months. For instance, in the month of March, about one hundred Google play store applications were found to infect Android phones with virus’s, a virus called Judy was found to have infected over 36 million phones.
The good news, however, is that this should prompt Android users to take precautionary measures for their phones. Steps such as strictly downloading applications from only reliable servers, scanning the applications reviews for any negative signs and finally making sure that the applications are updated.