Over 300,000 Android devices hacked through Chrome

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Over 300,000 Android devices have been infected through Chrome browsers worldwide since August of this year. How are hackers getting into phones and how can you prevent this? Read on for all the details.

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Typical attacks with new tools

Many of you probably encountered the type of attacks that have infected Android devices over the past few months. The attacks happen when browsing and can appear on any site. A pop-up advertisement appears and warns you that there is a virus on your phone. But there is no virus, this is a scam, and according to SecureList, 318,000 people have fallen for it since August.

Some Android owners have been clicking on the 'Remove virus now' button in an attempt to get rid of the problem. The attacker then tries to get them to change the phone's settings to allow APKs to be downloaded. Once downloaded, a malware program steals information.

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Keep your Android device safe by avoiding these types of scams. / © ANDROIDPIT

What Google is doing about it

Google AdSense advertisements were being used to spread the mobile-banking Trojan called Svpeng. Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based anti-malware provider, published its findings about this Trojan on Monday and reported the findings to Google. The search giant then shut down the operation that coupled AdSense advertisements with these false virus warnings. The researchers noted that "Google has been quick to block the ads that the Trojan uses for propagation".

How you can avoid these scams

The simplest way to avoid a scheme like this is to know about it. Attackers use fear to drive you to fall for the scam so if you know that there is no problem with your device then you won't click on anything. APKs from unreliable sources should always be avoided anyways. Check out our APK file guide for more information.

Do you think Google responded well to this attack? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Angela Jones Nov 16, 2016 Link to comment

    It's a no brainer really. Don't click on these ads and only download from the play store!

  • Ali Asgur Nov 13, 2016 Link to comment

    This article is so misleading in that it suggests these are Chrome vulnerabilities when in fact they are applicable to any browser.

  • Mike C. Nov 13, 2016 Link to comment

    Training wheels can be good!

  • Kikloo Nov 10, 2016 Link to comment

    I don't even turn off apk install from other sources when I share apps using shareit coz I know people have viruses in their phones as they don't update them or have apps from other people who have bad phones. Need to make sure you install from playstore only otherwise even if you think it's legit it might not be.

  • Alexandru Popescu Nov 10, 2016 Link to comment

    This is misleading. The vulnerability in Chrome only downloaded the APK, but it did NOT open, NOR it did install it. These last 2 and most important steps were done consciously by the users themselves - the users pressed switched the toggle to allow 3rd party app installs and again the users pressed the INSTALL button and watched the install process going on.

  • Albin Foro Nov 9, 2016 Link to comment

    As usual, it appears you have to install a bad app to be infected. I like the ability to sideload in Android, but as a multi-decade Windows user always have AV active - currently BitDefender on all systems, but brand loyalty goes only as far as the latest year's lab tests.

  • ljhaye Nov 9, 2016 Link to comment

    This why my parents only do Apple products, sigh

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