Google has been continuously working to detect and remove malicious apps from your devices using its newly launched Google Play Protect service.
Google Play Protect is a security feature that uses machine learning and app usage analysis to check devices for potentially harmful apps.
Discovered on targeted devices in African countries, Tizi is a fully-featured Android backdoor with rooting capabilities that installs spyware apps on victims’ devices to steal sensitive data from popular social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, LinkedIn, and Telegram.
It can also record calls from WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype, as well as access calendar events, call log data, contacts, photos, Wi-Fi encryption keys, and a list of installed apps.
Additionally, it can record audio when the user is not actively using the phone and take pictures without displaying the image on the screen.
Most Tizi-infected apps are being advertised on social media websites and 3rd-party app stores, tricking users into installing them.
Once installed, the innocent looking app gains root access of the infected device to install spyware, which then first contacts its command-and-control servers by sending an SMS text message with the GPS coordinates of the infected device to a specific number.
So far Google has identified 1,300 Android devices infected by Tizi and removed it.
How to Protect your Android device from Hackers?
Such Android spyware can be used to target your devices as well, so you if own an Android device, you are strongly recommended to follow these simple steps in order to protect yourself:
- Ensure that you have already opted for Google Play Protect.
- Download and install apps only from the official Play Store, and always check permissions for each app.
- Enable ‘verify apps’ feature from settings.
- Protect your devices with pin or password lock so that nobody can gain unauthorized access to your device when remains unattended.
- Keep “unknown sources” disabled while not using it.
- Keep your device always up-to-date with the latest security patches.