Mandrake Spyware Could Be Lurking Inside Your Android Phone
May 2020: A virus called Mandrake spyware is Infecting Android Phones in the U.S., Canada, Australia and other countries.We are all trying to avoid the dreaded coronavirus in Spring 2020. So, who wants to be worrying about any kind of virus or threat infecting their Android phones?
But recent news from Bitfdefender, a European cybersecurity and antivirus company, says it’s something for Android smartphone users to be concerned about. Bitdefender’s cybersecurity investigative team recently discovered a “spying operation” and unearthed spyware called “Mandrake” they say has been lurking on apps for Android phones for as long as four years.
Seriously, how many of us even worry about spyware being on our phones? It’s bad enough thinking of getting spyware on our laptops; but don’t must of us feel “safer” on our phones, just because it’s not a computer?
It’s not a joke and not science fiction. It’s modern reality.
A Bitdefender report said that Mandrake was discovered operating primarily in Australia. They don’t know precisely how many victims there are, but they said it is probably in the “tens of thousands.”
The report also said that Mandrake also has been tracked to Androids in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada. That means it truly could be anywhere someday.
Maybe even on your Android.
Mandrake spyware can do very bad things.
Here’s what Mandrake is capable of:
- The spyware can steal passwords and usernames of your banking or social media accounts.
- It can also copy and transfer video recording
- Worse yet, it’s abled to take screenshots of your phone
- It can use GPS to send the cybercriminals your location
- Mandrake can track text messages, and even some texts
Maybe worst of all, the Mandrake can delete itself—after the cybercrooks steal all the information they want, they can hit a “kill switch” that deletes the spyware from the device.
According to Bitdefender, Mandrake can quietly commandeer an infected Android phone and—undetected—collect data from the user. The spyware is controlled behind the scenes by operators somewhere. They are the criminal enterprise that’s receiving all the copied and disbursed user data.
As it turns out, Mandrake spyware is hidden on a handful of apps on the Google Play Store. It sits there simply waiting to be downloaded by someone wanting a legitimate app.
Bitdefender advised Google that Mandrake was hiding on the Google Play Store, but after Google took action, other infected apps were soon showing up. A Bitdefender specialist said infected apps were getting downloaded and installed by the thousands every day by users like you.
Signs of any spyware on your phone.
According to a number of sources, your phone might have a spyware or a virus if it does any of the following. (But the experts say it might be that your phone could be simply be acting up.)
If you see a few these indicators on your Android, it could be an indication that you have spyware.
- Your phone lights up on its own
- There’s unusual drain on the battery
- You hear odd noises when you’re on a call
- The phone shuts down or reboots on its own
- You burn through your data plan
What should you do if you have Mandrake spyware or just want to be safe?
Your phone is more than a talking device. For most of us they’ve become our mobile computers and our connection to the internet, our friends, our stores, banks and the world.
Therefore, one way to avoid spyware is to never click on strange links and think twice before opening any files or downloading apps without being sure—as sure as you can be—that they’re probably safe.
A few steps you can take.
You probably don’t have Mandrake spyware on your Android, but that’s doesn’t mean you might not have some type of adware or virus on your phone.
Many tech websites say you don’t need extra protection from viruses other than what built-in security features you already have on your phone. Other website authorities don’t agree.
If you want to seek some protection, do a quick Google search for antivirus software for Android phones and you’ll get plenty of offers. Do your own research and decide what’s best for you.
You can also see what your data plan provider (Verizon, Sprint) says about your phone and spyware. Verizon, for example, offers a service called Digital Secure they say protects you from viral threats.
Whatever you do, just realize your Android might be just as vulnerable as your computer.
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