If you own an Android phone then your google account may be compromised.
A new malware variant known as "Gooligan" has infected more than one million accounts according to research released yesterday by cyber security company Check Point. That figure is thought to be growing by up to 13,000 devices a day.
Gooligan first emerged back in August as a type of malware that infects people's devices after they'd downloaded apps from third party stores. It was originally related to a malicious app from 2015 named SnapPea.
HOW IT WORKS
The malware steals authentication tokens that can be used to access data from Google Play, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive and more. It also installs certain apps on a user's phone and highly rates them. According to Forbes, its main mission is to install adware to generate revenue for those apps and it takes in as much as $320,000 a month.
According to Check Point, the majority of the affected Google accounts are in Asia with 19% based in North and South America, while 9% are in Europe. The malicious code appears to affect devices running Android 4 (in versions known as Jelly Bean and KitKat) and Android 5 (Lollipop).
HOW TO CHECK IF YOUR PHONE IS INFECTED
To avoid infecting your device, you should only download apps from the Google Play store. If you suspect that your account has been breached, Check Point has built a site for you to verify it. If your phone is infected, Check Point recommends installing a clean operating system on your phone. If you're not tech savvy, your best bet is to switch off your phone straight away and bring it to a professional to clean. Once your phone has been fixed, change all of your google passwords.
Google have published a blog post on Tuesday in which they confirmed that they are working closely with Check Point to "investigate and protect users".