Deadly Adware affects Facebook, WhatsApp, and many more: How to protect phones?
Deadly Adware affects Facebook, WhatsApp, and many more: How to protect phones?

With the extensive growth of technology come severe risks of privacy intrusion. If you think turning off your mobile device can get you offline and prevent any sort of spy operations, think again. There's a new Android malware that is capable of spying on you even if you have turned off your mobile device.

AVG security firm discovered the malware that hijacks the shutting down process of your phone. By doing so, the phone appears to be turned off to the user, except it is not. The malware deceives the user into thinking that the mobile is turning off by displaying the shutdown animation after long-pressing the power key. The screen goes black but in reality the device remains on.

The extent of damage with this type of malware is unimaginable. A company spokesperson told Mashable that at least 10,000 devices have already been infected. The malware's origin was found to be in China, where most of the attacks have taken place. AVG aptly named this threat Android/PowerOffHijack.A after its attack technique.

AVG has listed the code excerpts showing how the malware operates. The security team found the Android smartphone must be rooted for the malware to initiate an attack. The devices at high risk of infection include those running Android versions before Lollipop.

"Most of us have seen Hollywood movies where hackers trace and spy on mobile devices even though they are switched off. Like most things in spy movies, we disregard it as fiction," AVG wrote. "However, recent malware discovered by the AVG mobile security team may change this preconception."

On infected devices, the malware is capable of making "outgoing calls, take pictures and perform many other tasks without notifying the user."

Those who run AVG anti-virus software on their phones will remain immune to this threat as the security software can detect it. Even so, customers can remove the battery to ensure their phone is really off.

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