'CopyCat' malware infects 14M Android phones in 2016

A malicious software called "CopyCat" infected roughly 14 million Android operating systems, earning hackers nearly $1.5 million in fraudulent advertising and app installations in the span of two months last year, reports Fortune.

The malware spreads through third party app stores and phishing attacks rather than the Google Play store, since Google has been monitoring variations of the CopyCat malware for a couple of years, Fortune reports. The malware campaign reached its peak during April 2016 and May 2016.

Researchers from Check Point Software Technologies — the Israeli cybersecurity company that reportedly discovered the malware — estimate CopyCat primarily infected devices in Southeast Asia, but nearly 28,000 U.S. Android phones also were affected.

CopyCat is reportedly the first adware to take advantage of security holes in early versions of Android software, Check Point researchers told Fortune. The adware exploits the software by "hijacking" a part of the Android system that manages app launches, called the "Zygote."

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