A new malware called Viking Horde has started to infect various devices that run on Google’s Android mobile operating system. According to a research team at Check Point, Viking Horde has already attacked a number of mobile apps at the Google Play store, including Viking Jump, Parrot Copter, Memory Booster, Simple 2048, and WiFi Plus.
So what exactly does happen to Android smartphones and tablet devices that are attacked by Viking Horde? For starters, they become a part of a botnet, a network of handsets that hackers can control, specifically in completing particular tasks without the knowledge and consent of the owners of the devices.
These tasks run the gamut between facilitating advertising fraud, in which users are bamboozled into clicking ad links that generate cash for hackers, to distributing spam and even carrying out Distributed Denial of Service attacks, which has the effect of bogging down websites by overloading their servers with tons of useless data requests.
As the most widely used mobile operating system in the world, Android is also the most highly vulnerable to malware, even more so because of its open nature. Still, Google has doubled its efforts in detecting suspect mobile apps before they can make their way to the tech giant’s app store. But despite Google’s extensive screening process, some harmful apps still get through.
As for the Viking Horde malware, what makes it even more dangerous is that it can fully function on both rooted and nonrooted Android powered mobile devices. For those not in the know, rooted devices are handsets in which the mobile operating system has been unlocked so that users can install apps that are not available on the Google Play store. Rooted devices can be exploited by the Viking Horde malware by installing software that can execute code by remote means. The result is that any information stored on rooted devices can be accessed by hackers. And because the Viking Horde malware gains root access privileges, removing it will prove trickier than usual.
As of this writing, a considerable number of the affected mobile apps are still present in the Google Play store. As revealed by Check Point, the Viking Horde malware got through Google’s malware scans in at least five occasions. The Check Point research team has already notified Google of the breach since May 5th.
Back in November of last year, there was new Android malware that was detected, and similar to the Viking Horde malware, it was nearly irremovable. The malware was discovered by researchers from Lookout.
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