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Security firms warn against the continuing spread of Hummer

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June 30, 2016

Security firms warn against the continuing spread of Hummer, a very nasy trojan virus that roots mobile handsets, then downloads several porn apps, and displays pop-up ads at random intervals.

Hummer was first discovered on the log files of Cheetah Mobile's security team in August 2014, but then spent 8 months in the dark before popping up again.

By March 2016, about 1.42 million mobile handsets were infected on any given day and many users were totally unable to get rid of it.

"If the trojan developers responsible for this were able to make $0.50 (the average cost of getting a new installation) every time the virus installed an application on a smartphone, the group behind this virus family would be able to make over US $500,000 daily," the company said in a blog post.

The issue with this lies in the strong rooting capabilities of the malware itself. With the most recent iterations of the Hummer code, there are no less than eighteen separate software tools for rooting a handset once the code has been downloaded.

Once rooted, even a full factory standard reset may not fully wipe everything off after a Hummer infection.

Users in India are even the hardest hit by the malware, with Indonesia second and China third. The majority of the infections are found among Asian users, although Hummer has popped up in most locations around the world in smaller numbers.

For now, it would appear that the people responsible for spreading Hummer are Chinese. The malware uses no less than twelve domain names to update the apps it pushes on the mobile phones, and some of these domains lead back to a single email address.

Making matters worse, by accident, a Chinese member of an open source message-board system also uploaded part of the code that makes up Hummer, the security researchers believe.

The real infection point is believed to be third-party app stores. While Google has largely cleaned malware out of its official Play Store, so-called secondary markets are less careful about checking code and Hummer can be disguised as a legitimate-looking app.

And while all of this is happening, last week the Lookout security people spotted an app called LevelDropper in the official Google Play Store, which purported to be software that allows DIY enthusiasts to replace their spirit levels...

Source: Cheetah Mobile Security.

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