Beware of a dangerous data-stealing malware affecting millions of Androids

Security experts have raised alerts after nine million Android devices have been hacked by dangerous malware, designed to steal user data.

The dangerous piece of trojan malware is believed to have been hidden in over 190 apps.

It's understood that the apps can secretly deliver dangerous malware to unsuspecting users.

The trojan is capable of a number of malicious activities including spying on text messages, stealing phone numbers, finding locations as well as downloading and installing other dangerous payloads.

Known as 'Android.Cynos.7.origin', the malware was spotted by anti-virus providers Dr.Web.

Dr.Web said: "The Android.Cynos.7.origin is one of the modifications of the Cynos program module. This module can be integrated into Android apps to monetise them. This platform has been known since at least 2014."

Here's everything you need to know about the dangerous hack…

Which phones are affected by the malware?

Previously, tech experts found a similar attack on Android apps downloaded through the Google Play Store.

This time the problem seems to be related to apps downloaded on Huawei's AppGallery store.

On the discovery of the malware on the AppGallery, a Huawei spokesman said: "AppGallery’s built-in security system swiftly identified the potential risk within these apps. "

They said that they are working to troubleshoot and that the apps will be re-listed on AppGallery once they have been cleared.

Which apps are dangerous?

The data-stealing malware has been hidden in a range of apps such as strategy, shooting and arcade-style games for English-speaking users and for those in China and Russia.

Some of the Cynos malware apps are:

• Hurry up and hide – – 2,000,000 installs

• Cat adventures – 427,000 installs

• Drive school simulator – 142,000 installs

Signs your phone has been hacked

Battery life decreasing

Mobile phone battery life always decreases over time, but if it's been compromised it will start to show significantly decreased lifespan.

This is because, the malware, may be using up phone resources to scan the device and transmit the information back to a criminal server.

Do note that everyday use can also run the battery down, especially if you’re consuming a lot of media content.

Sluggish performance

If your phone is frequently freezing, crashing, or glitching, this could be because of malware slowing it down.

You may also find that applications keep running even if you try to close them or that the phone itself crashes and/or restarts repeatedly.

Data usage is high

If your data bill is unusually highat the end of the month, this might be because of malware or spy apps running in the background, sending information back to its server.

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Outgoing calls and texts that you didn’t send

If there is ever lists of calls or texts to numbers you don’t know, be alert as these could be premium-rate numbers that malware is forcing your phone to contact, the proceeds of which go directly into the cybercriminal’s wallet.

Mystery pop-ups

Not all pop-ups mean that your phone was hacked, but constantly getting pop-up alerts could be a sign that your phone has been infected with adware – a form of malware that forces devices to view certain pages that drive revenue through clicks.

Sometimes, the pop-up itself isn’t due to malware, but might be an attempt at phishing by getting users to type in sensitive personal or financial information

Activity on accounts linked to your phone

Keep an eye on accounts like social media and emails.

This could anything from passwords being reset, marking unread emails that you didn’t read to getting verification emails to your inbox for new accounts you didn’t sign up for.

It’s always a good idea to constantly change your password as you update your phone.

Phones heating up

Phones get hot after a lot of use, but if your phone is constantly overheating this could be a sign you’ve been hacked – the extra activity being the reason for it to heat up.

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