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Currency-mining Android malware is so aggressive it can physically harm phones

posted onDecember 20, 2017
by l33tdawg

A newly discovered piece of Android malware carries out a litany of malicious activities, including showing an almost unending series of ads, participating in distributed denial-of-service attacks, sending text messages to any number, and silently subscribing to paid services. Its biggest offense: a surreptitious cryptocurrency miner that's so aggressive it can physically damage an infected phone.

Trojan.AndroidOS.Loapi is hidden inside apps distributed through third-party markets, browser ads, and SMS-based spam. Researchers from antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab have dubbed it a "jack of all trades" to emphasize the breadth of nefarious things it can do. Most notably, Loapi apps contain a module that mines Monero, a newer type of digital currency that's less resource intensive than Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies. The module allows the malware creators to generate new coins by leaching the electricity and hardware of infected phone owners.

But the lower demands of Monero mining by no means stop Loapi from straining infected phones. Kaspersky Lab researchers tested Loapi in a lab setting. After two days, the mining caused the battery in the phone to bulge so badly it deformed the cover. The researchers provided the pictures above as evidence.



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