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How to tell if your Android phone has the Hummingbad malware


Bad news: a malicious app has taken hold of about 10 million Android phones around the world, and it's creepy. Calling it HummingBad, researchers at Check Point say the software can take root in your phone, collecting your personal data and making it look like you've clicked on ads that you haven't.
If you're worried it might be on your phone, there are steps you can take. You can give your phone a check-up and likely find out if HummingBad is tracking your phone use and selling your information to the highest bidder.
You can also get it off your phone, even if the solution is only a few steps removed from "kill it with fire." Best of all, you can make a change to prevent this situation from repeating itself in the future.
How to find out if your phone has HummingBad
We live in an age of malicious mobile apps, and cybersecurity companies have taken note. They've produced apps that can detect bad actors on your phone and flag them for you. It works a little like antivirus software on your computer. What's more, some of these services can tell just by what an app does that it's up to no good.
You have a range of options when it comes to this protective phone software, from Check Point's own Zone Alarm to apps created by Lookout, AVG and Avast.
The tools for catching HummingBad on mobile phones are now public information, so any service worth its salt will be able to detect the app running on your phone.
How to kill HummingBad
If you find you're the owner of one of the 10 million infected phones (only 288,800 of which are in the US) well, that's bad. You can get rid of it, but you're not going to like the approach: factory reset.
You could painstakingly remove it, said Dan Wiley, head of incident response at Check Point, if you're a cybersecurity black-belt with a specialty in malicious mobile apps. But if you have those skills, you probably haven't read this far.
So backup your files and contacts, write down your favorite apps, and then reset your phone.
How to prevent this from happening again
If you're now looking at the generic wallpaper on your freshly reset phone, probably the last thing you want is a lecture. But Wiley has some advice you just might heed to keep this bad dream from becoming a recurring nightmare.
"The biggest thing I could say is, don't download apps from untrusted stores," Wiley said. Most people in the US primarily buy their Android apps from the Google Play store, but in other countries, it's more common to chance it by installing apps from other sources. These don't have the same guarantees that apps that have gone through the Google vetting process come with, and can be shady.

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