“Hummingbird” or “HummingBad” is the name for a new type of malware that’s infected 10 million Android phones. Although most of the infected phones are located in China and India, a report from cybersecurity software Check Point reveals that a quarter of a million devices in the United States are infected.
What Is HummingBad?
Hummingbird is a malware infection that installs software onto Android devices that give cybercriminals admin access to your device. CNET reports that these criminals then “generate fraudulent advertising revenue through forced app downloading and ad clicking.”
Who Created HummingBad?
Hummingbird was created by the Chinese advertising firm Yingmob. By infecting users with Hummingbird, the company was able to make money by serving ads on phones. Researchers estimate that YingMob was netting almost $300K a month from these fraudulent ads.
From a Motherboard article on the malware:
Listed as based in Beijing’s Chaoyang District, Yingmob, a subsidiary of MIG Unmobi Technology Inc., markets itself like any other advertising firm. Its professional-looking website claims its easy-to-deploy ads support text, pictures, and video, and don’t affect the user experience. It offers pop-up, sidebar, and in-app adverts. But Check Point’s report claims that part of the company — the “Development Team for Overseas Platform,” which employs a staff of 25 people — is responsible for malware it has dubbed HummingBad.
This isn’t YingMob’s first malware infection. In October of 2015, malware known as “YiSpecter” was found on iOS devices. Similarities between Hummingbird and YiSpecter point to the likelihood that they were created by the same group.
How To Know If You’ve Been Infected By HummingBad?
Since Check Point, the cybersecurity software team pointed out the Hummingbird malware in the first place, you should head to them to find out more.
We’ve reached out to Check Point on Twitter for more information. Here was their response.
Our Mobile Threat Prevention detected HummingBad malware in Feb 2016 and remains your best option to detect and prevent infection
— Check Point Software (@CheckPointSW) July 5, 2016
How To Get Rid of HummingBad
The easiest way to get rid of HummingBad is to do a factory reset. From CNet:
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.