A CopyCat malware affected over 14 million Android devices last year, damaging 8 million of them and earning the hackers approximately $1.5 million in fake ad revenues in two months, an information technology security provider Check Point has revealed.
The malware affected users mainly in Southeast Asia and spread to more than 2,80,000 Android users in the US, the company said in a blog post.
“It is unclear who is behind the CopyCat attack, however, there are several connections to MobiSummer, an ad network located in China,” it added.
“The malware also refrains from targeting Chinese devices, suggesting the malware developers are Chinese and want to avoid any investigation by local law enforcement, a common tactic in the malware world,” the blog post said.
According to the researchers, the campaign was spread via popular apps, repackaged with the malware and downloaded from third party app stores, as well as phishing scams.
There was no evidence that CopyCat was distributed on Google Play Store.
In March this year, Check Point informed Google about the CopyCat campaign and how the malware operated.
According to Google, they were able to quell the campaign, and the current number of infected devices is far lower than it was at the time of the campaign’s peak.
“Unfortunately, devices infected by CopyCat may still be affected by the malware even today,” Check Point said.