Security experts from NQ Mobile’s Security Research Center have discovered a virus targeting Android phones, and it may prove to be one of the most costly viruses ever discovered.
The malware, known as “Bill Shocker", has already infected the Android devices of an estimated 620,000 users in China, and it appears to pose a real threat to unprotected Android devices worldwide.
According to Net Security, "Bill Shocker" downloads in the background when users install applications from third-party online app stores.
The virus essentially takes control of the mobile device, turning the device into a "zombie." It gains access to the user's contact list, Internet connection, texting and dialing functions and allows the virus to send text messages to advertisers, often times resulting in users exceeding their text limits and subjecting them to additional charges.
In a news release issued on Thursday, NQ Mobile says they have already begun to take steps to protect Android users.
Those security measures include:
- Inoculated their cloud-based NQ Mobile Security product to keep our customers safe.
- Posting an anti-malware app to help protect all Android users.
- Alerting Chinese mobile carriers of the threat to prevent the spread of these kinds of threats.
- Providing their RiskRanker cloud-scanning engine to China’s top mobile carriers including, China Mobile and China Unicom as well as Baidu Mobile Services, to help them prevent any further spread of malicious mobile viruses.
Google Android ranks as the top smartphone platform according to Comscore. As of January 3, 2013, Android accounted for 53.7 percent of U.S. smartphone owners.
The anti-malware app from NQ Mobile can be automatically downloaded here.