- Feb 4, 2016
New Android malware can root infected devices to take complete control and silently tweak system settings, as well as evade detection using code abstraction and anti-emulation checks.
The malware, dubbed AbstractEmu by security researchers at the Lookout Threat Labs who found it, was bundled with 19 utility apps distributed via Google Play and third-party app stores (including the Amazon Appstore, the Samsung Galaxy Store, Aptoide, and APKPure).
Apps bundling the malware included password managers and tools like data savers and app launchers, all of them providing the functionality they promised to avoid raising suspicions.
The malicious apps were removed from the Google Play Store after Lookout reported their discovery. However, the other app stores are likely still distributing them.
Lite Launcher, an app launcher and one of the apps used to deliver the AbstractEmu malware on unsuspecting Android users' devices, had over 10,000 downloads when taken down from Google Play.
"AbstractEmu does not have any sophisticated zero-click remote exploit functionality used in advanced APT-style threats, it is activated simply by the user having opened the app," the Lookout researchers said.
"As the malware is disguised as functional apps, most users will likely interact with them shortly after downloading."
Once installed, AbstractEmu will begin harvesting and sending system information to its command-and-control (C2) server while the malware waits for further commands.