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The Triada trojan could affect 60 per cent of all Android devices

A new form of malware has been found that poses a risk to around 60 per cent of mobile phones running Android. The security firm Kaspersky Lab was responsible for discovering this new trojan that is able to affect any mobile device running Android 4.4.4 KitKat.

This new trojan is being called Triada and it has the ability to allow in-app purchase theft and carries with it all of the problems associate with privilege escalation. It also marks the first time that malware developed for Android has the same complexity as malware written for Windows. Before now most of the threats encountered on mobile devices were not nearly as well developed and were very primitive in nature.

Users are more at risk of being affected by Triada if they download and install apps from unknown sources as opposed to from the Google Play Store. However, some apps containing this malware have found their way on to Google's Store.

What sets Triada apart from other malware is that it makes use of Zygote which is the parent of the application process on Android devices. It contains the system libraries and frameworks that are used by all of the applications installed on the device and is able to launch Android applications on its own. Previously trojans that made use of Zygote were merely proof of concepts.

Once the Triada trojan has affected a users device it is nearly impossible to remove it from their system. This is because it becomes active in almost all of the working processes on the device and continues to exist in short-term memory. As a result of this, anti-malware solutions are ineffective at discovering and removing the malware.

The Triada trojan was clearly developed by cybercriminals who have a clear understanding of how Android functions at a core level and a tremendous amount of research and work went into developing this malware.

To protect yourself from the Triada trojan you should avoid installing apps from unknown sources and do the necessary research when installing a new app to make sure that it comes from a trusted source.

Photo credit: Kirill__M / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.