At the moment, 280,000 Android devices has been affected by CopyCat in the US alone. Though Google has been tracking the malware since 2015 and the company has updated PlayProtect to block CopyCat. However, millions of devices are still getting attacked via third-party app downloads and phishing attacks.
HOW COPYCAT MALWARE WORKS
The CopyCat virus pretends to be a popular app to confuse you and once it is downloaded on your phone, the app collects data about the infected device and downloads rootkits to ease root the phone, essentially eliminating the security system. Then, CopyCat downloads fake apps, as well as taking control of the device’s Zygote, (launcher for every app on your phone). Immediately the malware has control of the Zygote, your phone is olin its total control and it knows every app you download, as well as every app you open. After that, the malware can now be able to replace the Referral ID on your apps with its own, which redirects ad revenue to the hackers instead of to your app’s creators. So far, CopyCat has helped hackers make over $1.5 million.
According to researchers at Checkpoint,
the malware basically roots devices and hijacks apps to make millions in fraudulent revenue. The majority of the devices affected by the CopyCat malware are in Asia right now, but this does not mean that devices in other places are safe.
BRAIN BEHIND COPYCAT MALWARE
We can’t really tell exactly the creators of this dangerous malware but considering the fact that CopyCat Virus checks to see if the infected device is located in China and sparing devices from that region, it could be a signal that the perpetrators of the cyberattack might be located in China and are trying to avoid police investigation. The attack hit its highest number of victims between April and May of last year, but it still affects Android users today, especially those that use Android 5.0 and earlier Android versions. Also, users who download apps from third-party sites are at risk.
✔ It’s advisable to use an updated Android phone with new OS version especially if it’s your main phone for carrying out sensitive transactions and works.
✔ Also, you should endeavor to always install apps from Playstore or trusted sites.
✔ Be very careful when collecting apps from your friend’s phones or via laptops
✔ Ensure your memory card isn’t used on another person’s phone or laptop. Alternatively, make sure you format an SD card before using on your phone.
✔ Be careful when installing apps shared on social media like whatsapp and telegram.
Be sure to protect your device