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The report indicates that millions of Android TV set-top boxes and smartphones come pre-installed with malware.

Security company Trend Micro has revealed disturbing information for Android users, both on smartphones and those used in set-top boxes. Millions of devices across the planet could be compromised by malware that is already preinstalled in apps legally distributed on the Google Play Store. According to the firm, about 8.9 million cell phones from 50 different brands are already infected and may not even be aware of it.

According to the information provided by them, the largest concentration of malware falls on the United States, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand and Russia. Named “Guerrilla”, it has been found in more than 15 applications in the digital store and serves as a link between your device and a remote server. Through constant malicious updates, it is free to collect user data and send it under the codename “Lemon Group”, which sells this information to marketing companies. It is also responsible for installing more ads in your apps, which can drain your battery and slow down your smartphone’s performance.

04/18/2023 at 9:30

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Trend Micro wasn’t the only one to notice the presence of malware: TechCrunch also alerted the public to the use of set-top boxes. The h616-equipped T95 models commonly sold by Amazon also come with an app like Guerrilla preinstalled, she says, and can cause the same problem on your device. On the set-top box, it’s known as a “clickbot” that generates revenue from ad campaigns simply by clicking on a background image.

Trend Micro released a statement to raise public awareness of the case. “While we have identified several deals that the Lemon Group has with marketing and advertising companies, their core business is based on the heavy use of their data. Content appears to different users at certain times, which is detailed for them using equipment data. This allows the Lemon Group monitor consumers who may be infected by other applications in the future, such as sampling specific advertisements for users in a specific region.”

Be careful what you buy or download

Not for the first time, studies show that Android devices are shipped with malware, leading to yet another warning to the public about what and from whom they buy their devices. Brands such as Samsung, OnePlus, ASUS, Motorola, and some other well-known brands may not be free from the problem, however, they are more reliable and can offer support if you notice something strange in your experience with the platform.

In addition, many programs downloaded on smartphones and set-top boxes may come with Guerrilla and other programs that perform the same function. Even though Google allows its presence in the Play Store, try to only download well-known apps and games from trusted companies. While they point out the problem, no solution is offered and this can now be a headache for anyone – so pay close attention to these factors so you don’t put yourself at too much risk.

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Source: ARS Technique


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