More than 1M Android devices infected with new malware

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More than one million Google accounts have been compromised by a new authentication-theiving malware campaign called Gooligan, according to security company Check Point.

Gooligan is said to be a variant of malware discovered by Check Point previous year, which allowed attackers root access to Android devices through the use of up to 12 unique exploits.

Check Point researchers contacted Google's security team with their findings, and the firm is offering a free online tool that lets users determine if their account is part of the breach. It said Google issued the following reply: "We appreciate Check Point's partnership as we've worked together to understand and take action on these issues". About 13,000 devices are getting every day. It also steals details from all of the Google apps including Gmail, Google Photos, Google Docs, Google Play, Google Drive and G Suite. It can also get installed when users click links accidentally in phishing attacks. About 57 per cent of those devices are located in Asia and about nine per cent are in Europe. The malicious code appears to affect devices running Android 4 (in versions known as Jelly Bean and KitKat) and Android 5 (Lollipop). The aim of the program is to download other programs from Google Play to collect affiliate fees for the malware's operators and to post reviews using the victim's credentials.

Once the infection starts, the rooted device will download an infected app from the third party app store.On being installed by the user, it further downloads a root exploit like Towelroot to gain full access to the device.

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The Gooligan code has been around since its insertion in the SnapPea app, discovered past year.

Though this seem innocuous on its own, with enough devices infected, this can propel Googlian-infected apps up the Play Store rankings in popularity and thus expose them to more potential targets in perpetuity.

According to the security company these represent almost 74 per cent of Android devices in use today. This is a complicated process, and you may want to go to your mobile carrier and have them perform the installation. However, they add that users must immediately make a change to the passwords on their Google accounts after the flashing is done.

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