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Security Experts Just Issued This Urgent Warning to All Android Users

A malicious app could be spying on you and sending your personal information to hackers.

Whether it's tapping to pay at the grocery store, getting directions on the go, or making a call while you're out and about, the thought of being without your smartphone is almost inconceivable for most people today. But while the handheld devices have revolutionized the way we work, live, and communicate, they've also made us more susceptible to new types of cybercrime. Now, security experts are warning that Android users need to beware of a new potentially serious spyware threat on their phones. Read on to see what could be putting your personal information at risk.

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Security experts are warning about a malicious Android app called "Process Manager."

Holding an Android cellphone
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In a blog post from April 1, cyber security research group Lab52 issued a warning that it had discovered a malicious piece of software capable of infecting Android smartphones. The program, known as "Process Manager," can sneakily be downloaded onto devices and then used to send personal information to hackers.

The app can spy on users with the camera and microphone and read texts and emails.

Confused angry woman having problem with phone, sitting on couch at home, unhappy young female looking at screen, dissatisfied by discharged or broken smartphone, reading bad news in message

According to Lab52, users usually download the app accidentally after clicking on a link they've received through a text message or email on their device. From there, the malware will display a phony warning message that grants it access to the phone's camera and microphone and allows it to read text messages, emails, call logs, contact information, and the device's exact location. The app will then continue to run in the background to gather information that can be sent back to hackers and used to exploit or blackmail victims, The U.S. Sun reports.

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It's still unclear who is behind the latest version of spyware.

a hacker doxing someone online

In its blog post, Lab52 says that the malware appears similar to the type of technology developed by Russian hackers known as Turla. In the past, the cybercriminal group with ties to the Russian government have used the software to spy on Europeans and Americans, The Sun reports.

However, the group says it cannot come up with conclusive evidence that the notorious group is behind the latest malware attacks. "Attribution to Turla does not seem possible given its threat capabilities," they wrote.

Here's how you can keep your device safe from the malicious app and protect your information.

Close up of women's hands holding cell telephone with blank copy space scree for your advertising text message or promotional content, hipster girl watching video on mobile phone during coffee break

Of course, keeping your phone safe always begins with avoiding any suspicious links that may come your way through email or text. But any users who have inadvertently downloaded the app may not even notice it at first. The app hides in plain sight by using a cog icon that appears similar to the general settings icon used as a default in most devices, The Sun reports.

To ensure your phone is free of spyware, experts recommend double-checking which apps have permission to access your device's camera, microphone, and messages. You can do this by tapping on Settings and then searching for "Apps" or "Apps and Notifications" before clicking on "Permissions." If any programs you don't recognize have access to your device, revoke them immediately.

RELATED: Apple Just Issued This Major Warning for All iPhone and iPad Users.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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