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xHelper Android Trojan Ranks Among Top Malware For Smart Devices

Red Alert 2.0 Android Trojan image sensorstechforum com

Two variants of the xHelper Android Trojan are actively spreading against Android users

The xHelper Android Trojan which is one of the dangerous threats has gained widespread popularity among hackers and has become among the top 10 viruses for Google’s operating system.

It can hide itself from security software or the user and is used to deliver other threats to the compromised computers.

xHelper Android Trojan Rises To The Top 10 Of Mobile Threats

The xHelper Android Trojan is a dangerous threat for Google’s mobile operating system which was first detected in the beginning of the year. What we know about the hackers behind is that they have created the Trojan with the intention of deploying other threats via it. There are two main versions of it which feature distinct infection mechanisms and behavior.

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The main method of infection relies on scamming the victims into installing malware applications on their Android devices. There are several ways through which this can be achieved — either by uploading counterfeit apps on the official repository (the Google Play Store) by using fake developer credentials or creating and maintaining fake hacker-made sites. A common technique used by most criminals is to impersonate well-known applications or create elaborate descriptions for special hacker-made programs. They are usually advertised as legitimate and useful apps, the hackers can also post fake user reviews. The differences between the two versions lies within the way they work on the compromised hosts:

  • First xHelper Android Trojan — As soon as the app is installed on the mobile devices it will add its icon on the launcher. The malware will begin to spam the victim users with dangerous advertisements placed in various places, one of them being the notification bar. The captured samples so far shows that the displayed ads will be for trial or paid software products and services. This technique shows that the hackers use this in order to make money from advertising.
  • Second xHelper Android Trojan — This is a stealth variant which will execute itself in several different stages. It can be used to deliver other threats to the host in a stealth manner. The victims will probably not notice that they are infected with it. Potential malware infections can be spotted by looking out for a “xhelper” entry in the “App Info” menu of the delivered payload. The main engine is delivered to the victim hosts in a heavily obfuscated file.

According to the known information the majority of the victims are located in the United States, it is suspected that the controllers operate from the country as well. Already made infections will be very difficult to remove, numerous user reports indicate that the infections are very persistent and can even bypass many of the professional-grade mobile security software.

Martin Beltov

Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.

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