Is your phone mining for cryptocoins without your knowledge? A security firm, Trend Micro, has found that numerous Android apps are infected with a hacking program that mines for cryptocoins after download.
Users are actually notified of this impending action in the terms and conditions that must be acknowledged prior to using an app. However – shocker – the language used to explain the terms to users is murky and unclear. So, most users simply scroll through the terms of service, click “OK,” and download the app.
Sneaky? Yes. Legal? Pretty much. Here’s what you need to know.
So far, the apps that have been found to include the aforementioned hacking program include “Songs” and “Prized.” But, there are bound to be a lot more where those came from. All of these apps can be found in the Google Play store. How do you know if an app that you’re about to download contains this program?
Well, you’ll have to read through the TOS very carefully. Spending some time understanding what an app requires you to do (or what it will do with your phone) is important if you want to avoid this kind of problem.
What is the problem with your phone mining for cryptocoins anyway? These hacking programs run down battery life very quickly. If you start charging your phone often, that’s not good either. How can you tell if your phone has been infected with a sneaky app? Phones that are constantly mining will run very hot, will run out of battery juice quickly, and will run very slowly (also charge very slowly). It’s estimated that more than one million Android phones have been infected thus far.
The Android Problem
The issue with open-platform Android is that anyone can create an Android app. That means there’s very little regulation. This is how apps like the two mentioned above (and potentially countless others) make their way into the Google Play store. Once apps like these are found out, the word spreads. But, that could take a while. Plus, there are more apps out there that are likely infected and mining through phones right now.
While Android has its benefits, apps like these are not part of those good qualities. It’s hard to know what an app is doing once you have downloaded it, but I’ll caution you again to read through the TOS.
Even though you might be anxious to download and use an app, take those few minutes to figure out what you’re really downloading. Some apps will mine information, others will control your phone. If you move through the TOS and click the okay button, you’ve consented to allowing an app to do what it likes. At this point, you can’t really get mad. You can try to delete the apps, but that might not help either.
If your phone is exhibiting any of the signs listed above, it’s probably an app problem. Go through your phone and wipe out any suspicious apps (especially if you have the two listed above!). Has this happened to you?