Your smartphone is no longer just a place to keep your contacts and some music. Most of the Android smartphone users have sensitive information and private photos stored on their devices.
Even though you might consider using a strong password, only connecting to a secure Wi-Fi network, and avoiding suspicious files, you can still fall victim to a remote access Trojan attack.
What is a remote access trojan and how does it attack?
A remote access trojan, or RAT, is a type of malware that masquerades as a file that is either harmless or useful to the user — this could be anything from photos to files and applications.
But unlike other types of malware, RAT does not steal or destroy data and files that it was previously programmed to do. Instead, it gives the cybercriminals behind it complete access to your device and the possibility of remote control.
Users are often deceived by some form of social engineering into downloading and applying Trojans to their systems. Once activated, Trojans allow cybercriminals to spy on you, steal your sensitive data, and infiltrate your system. These actions may include:
- delete data
- data blocking
- Edit data
- Data copy
- Disrupt the performance of systems or networks
If the attacker is careful enough, the infection of your device may not be noticed until it is too late. An attacker can have unlimited access to all your files and applications and all the data stored on them such as passwords and personal information.
Unfortunately, RAT attacks have grown significantly since their first appearance in the 1990s. Nowadays, avoiding a RAT attack is much more difficult than simply refraining from downloading untrustworthy files and applications. One way RAT can get into your Android device is apparently through a system update notification.
Does Android Update Hide RAT?
One of the best ways to keep your device secure is to update your Android system regularly. Security bugs are often fixed in the latest systems and they are generally more secure than their predecessors.
But what can you do to make sure that a real system update is pending?
Android’s new system update from RAT links files from suspicious websites or scam emails. It may also originate from unsafe apps that you may have installed as an APK file and not from the Google Play Store.
The RAT malware will send you a real, seemingly fake, Google notification, letting you know there’s a new update. In some cases, “checking for updates” also appears to be more legitimate.
To ensure that the system update is legitimate and not the new RAT malware, do not update through notifications. Instead, go directly to your phone’s settings and visit the official update tool on your phone to check for available updates.
If there are no updates available, the notification might be a remote access trojan. Even if there is an update, install it through the Settings app only.
How to Get Rid of Remote Access Trojan Attacks on Android
Here’s how to get rid of a remote access trojan on your Android device.
While you should assume that a part of the data and files on your phone has been compromised, you need to limit the damage.
Manually disconnect the Internet on your phone to cut off the attacker’s remote access. You should also change all passwords and financial information that were on your phone using a separate, clean device.
To remove RAT from your phone, you need to delete it. If you have downloaded or installed any suspicious files or apps recently, start by deleting them and clearing your device memory of the data you left. To be safe, delete all your browsing data and uninstall and reinstall any suspicious browsers or apps.
Ideally, this should be enough to clean your device. However, if you do not know or are not sure where the malware is, you may need to delete everything on your phone by doing a factory reset. Check out the best free antivirus apps for Android: Keep your device safe.
Android Malware: Get Help
Removing malware from your phone may be easier said than done, especially if you’re not a tech savvy.
If you suspect that you have installed RAT on your device, feel free to seek help from your local telephone technician or from online resources and tutorials. If left untreated, RAT viruses may destroy your phone and your life. You can find out how you can protect yourself when popular programs are hacked.