Meta warns Android users about new malware hiding in WhatsApp and YouTube apps

Meta, owner of Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, has raised the alarm about a dangerous new malware strain hiding in fake YouTube and WhatsApp apps. The company said in its latest 2022 Quarterly Adversarial Threat Report that the new Dracarys malware is injected into fake versions of popular apps like WhatsApp and Youtube.

According to the report, this malware strain is capable of stealing call logs, contact information, files, SMS texts, geolocation and device details from an Android device, as well as stealthily taking photos and activating the microphone of the phone or tablet.

The latest report revealed that the Dracarys malware is named after the Game of Thrones Battle Cry dragon, which is operated by the hacking group APT. This hacking group aims to target users from UK, New Zealand, India and Pakistan.

What Meta says

  • Meta in Q2 2022 report said: “We found Bitter using a new custom Android malware family that we called Dracarys. In particular, it leveraged Accessibility Services, a feature in the Android operating system, to help users with disabilities automatically click through and grant the app specific permissions without the user having to do it.”
  • “Bitter injected Dracarys into trojanized (unofficial) versions of YouTube, Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp and custom chat apps that target call logs, contacts, files, text messages, geolocation, device info, taking photos, enabling microphone and more can access more install apps. While malware functionality is fairly standard, as of this writing, malware and its supporting infrastructure have not been detected by existing public antivirus systems. It shows that Bitter managed to re-implement common malicious features in a way that went undetected by the security community for some time.” it added.

How to protect yourself from the malware

Experts advised that the best way to protect yourself from such malware is to never download unofficial or fake apps from apps like WhatsApp, YouTube or Telegram. While the malware threat is still present even on the third-party APK website, experts say that Android users should download official apps from Google Play Store themselves.

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