Android Wallpaper Apps Found to Contain Bitcoin-mining Malware

Android-Happy2-e1357315066858The genius of cyber criminals should never be underestimated. Yes, they’re fools to dedicate themselves to a life of illegal activities, but when it comes to their strategies sometimes you have to admire them.

The latest attack to be uncovered targeted users of smartphones who were looking for wallpapers.

Five apps on the Google Play Store which were created to provide users with a selection of background images have also been found to provide Bitcoin-mining malware.

Known as BadLepricon, the malware is like other mobile cryptocurrency-mining malware apart from a few minor differences, which include:

  • only run when display is turned off
  • only run when battery is more than 50%
  • only run when connected to the internet.

These changes improve the malware’s ability to fly under the radar. Without these changes, the malware would cause devices to lose battery or overheat, which would certainly raise suspicions.

The malware was discovered by mobile security company Lookout. Their Head of Research and Response, Michael Bentley, said, “In order to be successful using mobile mining malware, you would have to have a network of thousands of phones at your disposal. That said, the processing power on phones is increasing and the more powerful these devices get, the more people are going to experiment with digital coin mining on them.”

Google is generally very effective at the screening process that apps needs to go through to be published, but it’s common for the odd one or two to slip through the net.

According to Lookout’s blog post, each app had between 100 and 500 downloads and have since been removed from the Google Play Store.

The apps affected:

Beating Heart Live Wallpaper

Epic Smoke Live Wallpaper

Mens Club Live Wallpaper

Urban Pulse Live Wallpaper