Android users are being warned about a strain of malware called FalseGuide that is believed to have infected up to two million devices.
According to security experts, unsuspecting users have been infected with the malware by downloading apps from the Google Play Store.
What’s worse, the malware may have been infecting devices for the best part of five months before it was detected, cyber security firm CheckPoint said earlier this week.
The FalseGuide malware was found to be hidden inside ‘guide’ apps, which are meant to provide instructions and tips on how to to popular games such as Pokemon Go and FIFA.
CheckPoint discovered at least 50 of the fake apps in the Google Play Store and reported the matter to Google. The apps have now been removed but it is estimated that nearly 2 million devices have been infected as a result.
The FalseGuide is a particularly dangerous form of malware as it is access your private data, read messages and prevent the infected app from being deleted. It is also able to root your smartphone, which means it has access to modify or remove software on your device, or install other software without your permission.
Experts warn that once it is installed on your device it can not be removed and those that have been infected are bombarded with advertising in order to generate fraudulent advertising revenue for its creators.
“FalseGuide creates a silent botnet out of the infected devices for adware purposes,” CheckPoint said in a blog post.
“A botnet is a group of devices controlled by hackers without the knowledge of their owners.”
Gaming guide apps are increasing being used by hackers to infect smartphones as gamers look for shortcuts or tips that will try and get them ahead in a particular game.
“Guiding apps are very popular, monetizing on the success of the original gaming apps,” CheckPoint added.
CheckPoint also warned that just because an app is available to download from an app store, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe.
“Users shouldn’t rely on the app stores for their protection, and implement additional security measures on their mobile device, just as they use similar solutions on their PCs.”
Jonathan is our Google Nexus and Android enthusiast. He is also fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to writing about tech, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and has previously written for one the UK’s leading watch and horology websites.