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‘BadLepricon” Malware Turning Android Phones Into Surreptitious Bitcoin Miners

Advertised as a wallpaper app for Andriod phones in the Google play store, “Bad Lepricon” malware hijacks end-user devices like smartphones and tablets for the purpose of the computationally intensive process of mining bitcoins.  To escape detection, the malware monitors the phone for battery life and monitor activity.  The phone only mines digital currency when the battery is at 50 percent charge or above.

“These apps did fulfill their advertised purpose in that they provided live wallpaper apps, which vary in theme from anime girls to ‘epic smoke’ to attractive men,” wrote Meghan Kelly, a Lookout security communications manager, wrote in Thursday’s blog post. “However, without alerting you in the terms of service, BadLepricon enters into an infinite loop where—every five seconds—it checks the battery level, connectivity, and whether the phone’s display was on.”

Bitcoin mining puts a lot of wear on devices due to the heavy demands it makes, it also causes devices to produce far above average levels of heat.

The malware was not caught by “Bouner,” the scanning program Google introduced in 2011 to prevent malware apps from infecting the Google Play Store.

 

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