Security firm TrendMicro has put out a report on a newly discovered malware present within some of the apps in Google Play Store. In keeping with the tradition of possesing particularly disturbing names, the malware goes under the name of “Godless”. Lets take a look at the malware and at the probability of your device getting infected with it.
According to TrendMicro, the Godless family of malwares is capable of rooting your device. Yup, rooting as in removing all the barriers placed by the manufacturers. And in case you are wondering why thats a bad thing, rooting voids your warranty, leaves your phone open to many issues and makes it more vulnerable.
What makes Godless particularly dangerous, is its ability to use multiple exploits to hack into your device.
We came across a family of mobile malware called Godless (detected as ANDROIDOS_GODLESS.HRX) that has a set of rooting exploits in its pockets. By having multiple exploits to use, Godless can target virtually any Android device running on Android 5.1 (Lollipop) or earlier. As of this writing, almost 90% of Android devices run on affected versions.
So basically, any device that runs Android Lollipop or below — including ICS, Jelly Bean, Kitkat etc — is open to infection through this malware. Also, a significant 46 percent of the infected devices, or almost 400,000, hailed from India. Although, thats not particularly surpriaing considering the large number of Android smartphones in the country.
As per TrendMicro,
Based on the data gathered from our TrendMicro Mobile App ReputationService, malicious apps related to this threat can be found in prominent app stores, including Google Play, and has affected over 850,000 devices worldwide.
However, things are not quite so bleak as TM would have you believe. First off, the number of devices believed to be infected, while huge when read out of context, is actually a very small fraction of all the smartphones out there.
And fractions quite apart, there are many other safeguards as well. Each and every application on Google Play undergoes rigourous checks to ensure that they are not carrying any virus or malware along.
In fact, a closer look revealed that only one app on the play store was listed as being a carrier of the malware and checking with Google can confirm that both the App — Summer Flashlight — and the developer — Team Crazy Wifi — have been removed from the Play Store.
So yes, that may be the end of Godless on Google Play. Meanwhile, in case you are particularly worried about malwares or viruses and the sort infecting your device, dont be. Hacking into the android system which is protected by Google’s engineering, is harder than you imagine.
Meanwhile, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your safety and peace of mind. One, always install apps from verified publishers and stores, such as Google Play. Two, install a good antivirus system on your device. There are certain free ones like Avast and AVG out there that in my personal experience, have always managed to get the job done. Three, dont click upon links or download stuff requested by random people. Follow all this, and you should probably be safe from Godless and its creed.