An Android virus steals data from Facebook Messenger and Skype

Computer security researchers at Trustlook have uncovered a Chinese malware that has the sole objective of stealing sensitive information from Messenger

Talking about Android viruses is like drafting a war bulletin: every day a new one is added to the list and hopefully the situation will improve for the future. Despite Google's efforts to make its mobile operating system impenetrable, there are too many "loopholes" for hackers to infect Android smartphones.

The latest malware that has hit Google's mobile platform has been discovered by some computer researchers from Trustlook and is present inside Cloud Module, a Chinese application available in one of the many digital markets available in the Asian country. The virus is hidden in one of the packages of the application and as soon as you install it, it takes control of your smartphone. But the most worrying aspect is one of the virus' features, which allows hackers to steal information from instant messaging applications and send it to a server in China.

At a time when the protection of personal data is very much in the news (the "Cambridge Analytica" case has brought the issue back to the forefront), the discovery of this new malware only increases users' fear of being spied on. In whose hands does the data that the Android virus steals from Messenger, Skype and Telegram accounts end up? And how is it able to sneak into these kinds of applications?

Few features, but very dangerous

The Android virus does not have many features, but it manages to take control of the smartphone and allows hackers to control it remotely. Moreover, the malware manages to collect data from instant messaging applications and send it to a server in China. The applications under attack are all the most used by the users, except WhatsApp: Facebook Messenger; Skype; Telegram; Twitter; WeChat; Weibo; Viber; Line, Coco; BeeTalk; Momo; Voxer Walkie Talkie Messenger; Gruveo Magic Call; TalkBox Voice Messenger.

Privacy under attack

The malware developed by the Chinese hackers is very resistant, so much so that it uses advanced techniques to repel any type of antivirus. What is most frightening is the virus' ability to steal personal data that users exchange on messaging platforms: images, videos and any other content end up in the hands of Chinese hackers. Why do hackers collect personal information? Most likely to resell it online or to extort money from celebrities.

How to defend yourself against the virus

The cybersecurity experts at Trustlook did not explain how the virus spread in such a short time in China. But the reason is quite simple: since there is no Google Play Store, the number of third-party digital marketplaces is very high. And very often these kinds of digital stores do not offer the same guarantees as the Google Play Store. On the contrary. It is very common to find applications that infect your smartphone as soon as they are installed. This is also the case with the Cloud Module app. To defend yourself against this kind of virus, you simply need to install apps from the official Google store.