If you thought you could keep malware at bay by switching off your smartphone, you better give reconsider that.
If the latest report by AVG is to be believed, a new sort of virus ‘Android/PowerOffHijack’ has surfaced that preys on Android gadgets even when they have been switched off. Infact, it may seem that you have switched them off but that is not entirely true.
It is important to note that for the malware to affect your device, it depends on two factors. Firstly, the Android device has to run any Android variant earlier than Android 5.0 Lollipop. As you might be aware, that accounts for a majority of Android devices out there. However, the other pre-requisite is for the device to be rooted that is not as common across Android devices despite it being a popular choice.
The malware hijacks powering off process, making it look like phone is off but only turning off display
As for the way this malware works, it takes over the shutdown operation of the device only to fool the user into thinking that the device has powered off once it’s shut down. In essence, it’s only allowing the user to turn off the display at that point. It handles the rest quite cleverly by letting the phone receive calls and messages but without letting the owner of the device be alerted. It can even make calls, send messages and take photos in the meanwhile.
If you are interested in knowing the detailed technicalities as to how the malware is triggered with the power button, you may read up AVG’s version here. Until we have a proper fix for this, you might want to consider taking out the battery to really make sure your device is switched off. Afterall, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.