If your Android phone is appearing slow all of an unexpected, there’s a hit it could be contaminated with malware that sneakily works cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Researchers at cybersecurity firm Trend Micro found the JsMiner and CpuMiner malware forces sneaking back at least three apps, with the malicious code leeching an infected phone’s processing power to mine Monero coins.
The malware hid behind apparently tame free apps, including a Wi-Fi scanner and a religious prayer app.
“These threats highlight how even mobile devices can be used for cryptocurrency mining activities, even if, in practice, the effort results in an insignificant amount of profit,” explained Trend Micro’s threat researchers. “Users should consider a sign of any act degradation on their devices behind installing an app.”
The infected apps have since been pulled from the Play Store by Google, but it remains unclear as to how many Android devices the malware strains managed to infect and if they were able to generate a bountiful amount of Monero coins for the cybercrooks behind the malware spread.
Cryptocurrency mining can be a lucrative undertaking, with the event the likes of The Pirate Bay exploring ways to use miners to semi-legitimately make money without relying on website adverts.
So it’s worth being extra vigilant when downloading Android apps, even those that look fairly legitimate, and keep an eye out for any sudden drops in your phone’s performance and battery life as they’re tell-tale signs that something nasty is lurking in the background on your handset.