A healthy percentage of Android users targeted by mobile malware or mobile adware last year suffered a system partition infection, making the malicious files virtually undeletable.
That’s according to research from Kaspersky, which found that 14.8 percent of its users who suffered such attacks were left with undeletable files. These range from trojans that can install and run apps without the user’s knowledge, to less threatening, but nevertheless intrusive, advertising apps.
“A system partition infection entails a high level of risk for the users of infected devices, as a security solution cannot access the system directories, meaning it cannot remove the malicious files,” the firm explained, in a posting on Monday.
Moreover, research found that most devices harbor pre-installed default applications that are also undeletable – the number of those affected varies from 1 to 5 percent of users with low-cost devices, and reaches 27 percent in extreme cases.
“Infection can happen via two paths: The threat gains root access on a device and installs adware in the system partition, or the code for displaying ads gets into the firmware of the device before it even ends up in the hands of the consumer,” according to the firm.
In the latter scenario, this could lead to potentially undesired and unplanned consequences. For instance, many smartphones have functions providing remote access to the device. If abused, such a feature could lead to a data compromise of a user’s device.