Xavier is a recently discovered malware that has been found to target the Android operating system. First spotted by cyber security firm TrendMicro, this new notorious malware is believed to have infected more than 800 apps on the Google Play Store already.
What’s even worse is that compared to other known malware, Xavier is a lot stealthier and hard to detect. Yes, it has a few tricks up its sleeve that makes it bigger a threat than most other malware security experts come across in the Android ecosystem, stated TrendMicro.
Are you vulnerable to Xavier?
As always, the first step toward ensuring safety from an aggressive malware such as Xavier is to become familiar with the threat itself. So far, this new malware has mostly affected Android users in Southeast Asia. The top three most affected countries include Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia.
The 800+ apps that were infected include apps from several categories such as ringtone changer, image editors, and others. There are fewer downloads from the Unites States, Europe, and other major markets as of now, but that doesn’t mean users from these regions are safe from the malware.
What does Xavier do?
Once Xavier infects your device, it downloads codes from a remote server and executes them. Then it resorts to various techniques to make itself nearly undetectable.
It is basically a newer and more sophisticated variant of AdDown, a collection of malware that made themselves known nearly two years back. One major difference, however, is that Xavier has added encryption and a secure connection to all its features. These features are designed to collect and transmit information from an infected device to a remote server without giving the affected user the slightest of a clue.
How to protect yourself from Xavier
Xavier is indeed a scary piece of malware that jeopardizes your privacy and security without even giving you a hint that something’s wrong before it’s too late. TrendMicro has listed all the known Android apps carrying the malware here [PDF].
If you have recently downloaded and installed any of these apps, it is recommended that you remove the app immediately. If possible, also run a factory reset to be on the safer side. For additional safety, change the passwords for all apps and services that you accessed from your infected handset.