The malware is spreading between Android TV and mobile devices as well as Fire TV devices via the internet and ADB (Android Debug Bridge). ADB must be manually activated but Doublepulsar has found that some devices are shipping in this condition.
Worm to spread crypto-mining malware
The malicious malware has been created for cryptocurrency mining. It is using the device’s computing resources to generate profit for the owner.
Once the malware worm has infected an Android device, it automatically starts searching on the internet’s TCP port 5555 to see if other Android devices are vulnerable due to an active ADB (Android Debug Bridge). ADB is integrated into all Android devices as a way for developers to gain remote access. It is deactivated by default.
However, some users activate ADB in order to be able to sideload apps – that are not available in the Google Play Store – on their device. The malware is also spreading via some apps designed to watch pirated movies and TV shows.
Besides Android mobile devices, the malware has been found in TVs based on Google’s Android TV operating system. The specific devices were not named.
- ”During research for this article, we’ve found everything from tankers in the US to DVRs in Hong Kong to mobile telephones in South Korea. As an example, a specific Android TV device was also found to ship in this condition,” Kevin Beaumont of Doublepulsar wrote.
AFTVNews confirms that the malware worm has also reached Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. Amazon’s Fire TV platform is built on Android.
Is your device infected?
Unless ADB is activated on your device and unless you have installed apps for watching pirated movies and TV shows, you are probably safe. Still, it might be worth keeping an eye out for symptoms such as sluggish performance. The cryptocurrency mining malware eats up most computing resources.
On Fire TV devices the malware is labeled “Test” and is hidden under a process called ‘com.google.time.timer’. We have not been able to confirm details for Android TV. If your device is infected you should deactivate ADB and delete the malware and related files. A safer method may be to perform a factory reset of the device but be aware that your apps and settings will be lost.
The malware has been dubbed ADB.Miner and was first observed on January 31, 2018. It spread to more than 5000 devices within the first 24 hours. It has since spread to Android devices throughout the world.