Global cybersecurity firm Trend Micro on Friday announced it has detected more than 800 applications in Google Play Store embedded with a trojan Android malware “Xavier” that have been downloaded millions of times till date. “Xavier” steals and leaks a user’s information silently. “These applications range from utility apps such as photo manipulators to wallpaper and ringtone changers. We also provide multi-layered mobile security solutions to protect users from this threat,” Trend Micro said in a statement.
Based on data from its “Mobile App Reputation Service”, the team found that Xavier’s stealing and leaking capabilities are difficult to detect because of a self-protect mechanism through the use of methods such as string encryption, internet data encryption and emulator detection. It also has the capability to download and execute other malicious codes from a remote server, which might be an even more dangerous aspect of the malware.
“The easiest way to avoid a cunning malware like ‘Xavier’ is to not download and install applications from an unknown source even if they are from legitimate app stores like Google Play Store,” said Nilesh Jain, Country Manager (India and Saarc), Trend Micro.