Digital security company Trend Micro has recently discovered a new form of a very dangerous crypto mining malware appearing on more and more Android devices.
This new malware variant has the ability to render a device useless, in effect killing it.
The malware has been nicknamed HiddenMiner and was devised and designed to mine the cryptocurrency Monero.
Not only does the malware illegally mine for Monero but as it is using as much of the infected devices resource as possible, it can lead to overheating and batter bloat and eventual failure of the said device similar to the Loapi malware outbreak in 2017.
The hack infects devices running the pre-nougat Android OS and is virtually impossible to remove.
HiddenMiner was first detected in China and India which is not surprising as these regions have a higher market share of pre-nougat devices in circulation and on the market, it is only a matter of time until the malware starts to appear in other parts of the world.
HiddenMiner originates from unprotected third-party app stores that have no protection unlike the official Google Play store, and even masks itself as a Google Play Update.
Once a user inadvertently grants HiddenMiner permissions the malware will install itself, hides any icons, check it isn’t running in an emulator and retains all administrator permissions granted by the user during the install stage.
HiddenMiner exploits a bug in Android 6.0 and previous versions which were eventually fixed when Android 7 was released. Attempts to stop it and uninstall the malware results in repeated screen locks leaving the user unable to perform the necessary actions to delete it from their device.
Trend Micro said, “it will continuously mine Monero until the device’s resources are exhausted.”
The easiest way to protect yourself from HiddenMiner is to never install apps from an unapproved source and keep your device up to date. Another level of protection can be added by installing an antivirus app on your device no matter how recent the device is.