New malware spies on your phone activities: Here's how to stay protected

Written by Jakob A. Overgaard

Sep.13 - 2023 7:44 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
In today's digital age, the threat from malicious software is ever-present. Cybercriminals are continuously devising new ways to deceive and exploit unsuspecting users.

Trending Now

The latest in this line of threats is a unique form of spyware that has rapidly spread across Android devices globally, posing severe risks to those affected.

As reported by

Spyware, in essence, acts as a covert agent on your device, stealthily gaining access to monitor your activities and even read your messages. Researchers from the Slovakian security firm, ESET, have uncovered various versions of this spyware, named "BadBazaar," lurking on numerous Android phones and tablets. This revelation was highlighted in ESET's magazine, welivesecurity.

One of the primary reasons this spyware has been able to proliferate is its ability to masquerade as popular chat applications like Signal and Telegram. Unsuspecting users download these counterfeit versions, thinking they are the genuine apps, only to unknowingly introduce the spyware onto their devices.

In most cases, spyware finds its way onto devices when users download apps from dubious online sources rather than the official app stores like Google Play and Apple App Store. The best defense against such malicious software is to always download apps exclusively from approved app stores, which have rigorous vetting processes in place before making any app available for download.

If you've recently become aware of the risks associated with downloading apps from the internet, there's a genuine possibility that your device might be compromised. While spyware can be notoriously challenging to detect and remove, there are steps you can take to safeguard your device.

Firstly, consider scanning your phone or tablet with a trusted security tool, such as Bitdefender Mobile Security, ensuring you download it from official channels. After scanning, it's advisable to change all your passwords.

Furthermore, you can prevent potential spying by adjusting your device settings. By reviewing the list of apps and their permissions, you can identify which ones have access to your data. The exact procedure might vary depending on your device, but generally, the steps are similar. For instance, on a Samsung phone:

  1. Open settings (represented by a gear icon).

  2. Click on Apps (some devices might require checking apps individually).

  3. Tap on the three dots in the top right corner and select "Special Access."

  4. Click on "Install unknown apps" and ensure no apps have this permission. If they do, disable it.

  5. Also, check the "Device admin apps" section and ensure no unfamiliar apps have this permission.

By following these steps and remaining vigilant about where you source your apps, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to spyware threats.