Malware can grant hackers unfettered access to your devices, and this time even turning off your phone can’t stop them. AVG security has dubbed this threat PowerOffHijack. It’s so called because it actually hijacks your ability to turn off your phone. This malware creates a false shutdown screen, so the user thinks he is turning off his phone. The screen turns black and it looks like any other time your phone has been turned off. In fact, the device is still on and just as capable of being controlled by an outside user.
Even when it the device appears off, the malware can take photos, make outgoing phone calls, and do almost any other task. Over 10,000 installations of the PowerOffHijack malware have been tracked by AVG security. The Google Play store screens apps for malware, so any app you download from there should be safe. Users are mainly getting this malware from third-party app stores. A lot of these downloads are reported to be coming from China, where no one has access to Google Play. So, unregulated third-party app stores are abound, leading to rampant malware infestations.
This malware is only effective on Android devices that are running older versions of Lollipop. The malware is also only affecting Android devices that have been rooted. If you’re not sure if your device is rooted, its probably not. Rooting is when a user modifies his phone to allow deeper access and customization of the software. It requires detailed knowledge of the software, and it can’t really be done by chance.
So, unless you have rooted your phone and are still running an Android OS earlier than Lollipop 5.0, you should remain unaffected. If your phone is possibly at risk, or if you are concerned about the PowerOffHijack malware, running AVG’s own anti-virus should allay your fears and be able to detect it for you.