Android Malware Cloak and Dagger Attack News: Recently Discovered Vulnerability Threatens Online Safety of Android Users

Reuters/Anindito MukherjeeAndroid One based mobiles are on display during its launch in New Delhi September 15, 2014.

A group of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has just discovered a new exploit that attacks Android mobile devices. Disguised as fake Android screens, hackers can use the said exploit for malicious activities without being detected.

Aptly dubbed as Cloak and Dagger, the newly discovered vulnerability is reportedly not caused by a traditional bug but is instead the result of a combination of two legitimate permissions that run some commonly-used features in popular applications. According to Georgia Tech, the vulnerability has been tested in closed environments and has been proven to allow attackers to secretly control a mobile device.

YouTube/Georgia Tech

This attack is cloaked under an invisible grid that mimics the Android screen and overlays the graphical interface with false information just as a malicious attack is being done unbeknownst to the owner of the mobile device.

"The possible attacks include advanced clickjacking, unconstrained keystroke recording, stealthy phishing, the silent installation of a God-mode app [with all permissions enabled], and silent phone unlocking [and] arbitrary actions [while keeping the screen off]," the researchers wrote in a report published online.

The vulnerability, which was first discovered back in August, can reportedly affect all recent versions of Android, including Android 7.1.2.

In line with this threat, Google has issued a response to the report, saying that they have been in touch with the researchers and have since updated Google Play Protect to ensure their user's online safety.

"Prior to this report, we had already built new security protections into Android O that will further strengthen our protection from these issues moving forward," Google said.

Users should refrain from downloading applications from unknown and untrusted sources. International Business Times advises going into Settings and turning off the "draw on top" permission on Android mobile devices in order to prevent the possibility of a Cloak and Dagger-style attack.

Android Authority further advises users to take heed of popular streaming platforms like VLC, Kodi, PopcornTime, and Stremio since these applications may be used for the said exploit.