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Short battery life on your smartphone? Could be malware

Norman-Mobile-Security-AndroidMalware is, to put it bluntly, evil. It can delete your irreplaceable files, steal your banking information and infect your friends. However, there’s a new piece of mobile malware that could have the worst effect yet: it dramatically reduces your phone’s battery life.

Sure, the ramifications might not be as dramatic as the other situations, but it is certainly the most annoying consequence of a new Android smartphone malware.

And because it’s not a common symptom of a computer virus, you might think that your phone’s battery is broken, rather than your phone being infected, and waste money buying a new handset.

This new malware, called BadLepricon, is currently infecting Android smartphones and was recently discovered in five apps designed to allow users to customise the background image of their phones (these are called “wallpaper apps”).

bitcoinThe apps worked as promised, allowing users to easily change their phone’s background to various images. However, as a side effect, the apps also tried to mine Bitcoins for the malware’s creator.

“Mining Bitcoins” is a process for making money on the web by decoding complex codes. Once a code is decrypted, the person who achieved it (“mined” the Bitcoin) gets to keep a single Bitcoin, currently worth hundreds of dollars.

However, in this case, it’s not the phone’s owner that gets the Bitcoin, but the writer of the virus.

To avoid detection, the malware checks if the smartphone is not being used and whether the battery life is above 50%. I guess if the app didn’t check the remaining battery, users might be even more suspicious as to why the battery on their phone was dying so quickly. After all, mining Bitcoins is a very resource-intensive process, so mobile phone batteries will quickly be eaten up by it.

The apps have now been removed from the Google Play store, but there will undoubtedly be other clones trying the same technique in the months and years to come.

Our advice is to make sure you have a good Android anti-virus app.

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More info about Norman Mobile Security for Android

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