Smartphone virus hits millions

A smartphone virus has compromised more than 1 million Google accounts and although not technically a ‘hack’, people with Google accounts are being warned to stay on guard.

Experts claim that the software could attack up to 74 per cent of the world’s Android phones.

The malware has been nicknamed ‘Gooligan’ by Check Point, the computer security firm that discovered it. ‘Gooligan’ has already accessed more than 1.3 million Google accounts since August 2016, making it possibly the biggest breach of Google accounts on record. Attacks continue to grow at a rate of 13,000 breaches a day.

The malware enters devices after users download apps from third-party sites. It then accesses the user’s Google account to give fake reviews and rack up advertisement views. This then generates income for the malware makers.

According to Check Point: “The malware roots infected devices and steals authentication tokens that can be used to access data from Google Play, Gmail, Google Photos, Google Docs, G Suite, Google Drive, and more.”

The computer security firm has created a website where Google account holders and Android users can check whether their accounts have been compromised, along with instructions on how to battle the virus.

Any Android users running Android 4 or 5 operating systems are at risk of infection.

Google is currently working on a fix for the problem.

“We’ve taken many actions to protect our users and improve the security of the Android ecosystem overall,” said a Google spokesperson.

We caution YourLifeChoices’ members to only download Google apps from official sources.

Have you been hit by the ‘Gooligan’? Is your smartphone safe from malware?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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