Viking Horde Malware: How You Can Stave Off This New Threat

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If you’re an Android user and you frequently visit Google Play to download apps, you might need to think twice about clicking that install button. Android devices are facing a new threat in the form of a malware strain that is currently prowling the Google play marketplace. It’s called “Viking Horde,” and hackers are using it to recruit your device into being part of a botnet, among other malicious purposes.

Discovered by Check Point earlier this month, the Viking Horde malware is said to infect Android devices via downloads from Google Play. A handful of apps in the library so far have been discovered to carry the Viking Horde malware, which are not available for download at the moment. These apps are Viking Jump, Memory Booster, Simple 2048, Parrot Copter, WiFi Plus. The malware remains at large on Google Play.

What does Viking Horde do to your device?

According to Check Point, attackers use the malware strain to conduct ad fraud by establishing proxy IP addresses to lure unsuspecting users into clicking the attacker’s disguised ads, which then generates profit for the attackers.

The user’s device also becomes part of a botnet–a large network of computers that is used to conduct transmissions with other Internet-connected devices without the knowledge of the owners–which the attackers can use for other malicious purposes such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, spyware seeding, and email spamming, among others.

The malware is said to affect Android devices, rooted or not, but the former faces more risks; according to Check Point, the Viking Horde delivers additional payloads, which can remotely execute codes.

Check Point also added that the malware can “take advantage of root access privileges to make itself difficult or even impossible to remove manually” by using a number of techniques so that it remains on the device even if its main components are deleted. The components also adopt system-related names, making them difficult to locate.

How can you protect yourself?

It is currently unknown how you can restore a device that’s been infected by the Viking Horde malware. Once your device has been infected, the only solid solutions are tapping into your backup files or resetting your Android device to factory settings.

But if your device is yet to be affected, you can still conduct safety precautions so you can protect it from the Viking Horde malware and other malicious software. Here are a few simple tips:

Exercise good judgment

In any online activity, especially when it involves downloading apps, exercising good judgment is always the best way to protect yourself from malware and malware-based attacks such as the Viking Horde. If something seems obviously fishy about the app page, like the description containing incorrectly spelled words or the page not having any images, you should think hard before clicking the install button.

Research before installing

Before downloading any app, it is best to first do research about the app–it takes only a few minutes. Search for it on Google and look at the top search results. Look up and read reviews about the apps, especially those from trusted sources. You can also scan through user reviews to know if the app really works or not. Red flags include comments about forced installations or attempted access to critical areas of a device (such as messaging and contacts).

Always update your operating system and apps

This is a given, especially if you want your Android device to be at its full functionality. Also, by updating your operating system as well as your apps, you allow your device to make use of the new security features that come with the updates.

Wait for the official launch date

A lot of mobile app developers announce a launch date for the apps that they develop, especially for highly anticipated ones. Sometimes, the hype that these developers build gets so high that some users want to get their hands on the app as soon as possible. Cyber criminals use this to their advantage, launching similarly named apps filled with malware and other malicious software to lure these users. Always wait for the official launch date when downloading to protect your device.

Use a VPN for added protection

While the Viking Horde is known to prowl only Google Play, it is still malware, and malware attacks are always present whenever you browse online. You may think that your antivirus or antimalware can keep your device safe, but that’s not enough. For better malware protection, you might want to consider installing a virtual private network (VPN) on your device.

Hotspot Shield is a VPN that you can download for free and is regarded as one of the best and most trusted VPNs today. Hotspot Shield is compatible with Android devices as well as Mac, Windows and iOS devices. Installing a VPN such as Hotspot Shield on your device provides added protection against malware attacks like the Viking Horde.

What are the benefits of Hotspot Shield?

Hotspot Shield VPN protects your device against malware attacks by notifying you if a website that you are trying to access contains malware, which will then be blocked for your safety. The Hotspot Shield VPN provides added protection for your device, as it can detect and block more than 3.5 million malicious, phishing and spam sites.

In addition to better malware protection, Hotspot Shield can help you access blocked content at work or in school. Connecting with Hotspot Shield enabled gives you a new US IP address to mask your actual IP address. It allows a secure and encrypted connection, anonymous web surfing, and enhanced security when browsing via public Wi-Fi. You can enjoy all of these benefits at no cost because Hotspot Shield is free.

Get Hotspot Shield Free Version Now!

There is also an Elite version that you can get for a small fee that allows you to enjoy all these benefits, plus access to 15+ virtual locations in addition to a US virtual location, ad-free browsing, and unlimited bandwidth.

The Viking Horde is an example of how malware attacks are continuously evolving, and if you don’t exhaust all the available options to protect your device, not only do you risk getting infected, you also become a part of a network that cybercriminals can use to advance their interests.

Get Hotspot Shield for Android!

The Viking Horde is an example of how malware attacks are continuously evolving, and if you don’t exhaust all the available options to protect your device, not only do you risk getting infected, you also become a part of a network that cybercriminals can use to advance their interests.

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