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Nigeria uncovers ‘malicious apps’ hijacking Android phones on TikTok, others

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The Federal Government has warned Nigerians, home to over 200 million mobile phone users, to be wary of malicious apps on social media including the popular TikTok, that have been found to hijack Android devices.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) which issued what the IT agency cites as “an urgent warning” want Android users to know about four specific malicious applications capable of taking control of their mobile phones. 

These apps, NITDA says, are designed to steal information, mine cryptocurrency, and spy on users by monitoring their activities.

Kashifu Inuwa, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). Image credit: NITDA.

According to NITDA, once these malicious apps are installed, the malware activates and uses WebView to launch URLs to platforms like YouTube or a mobile gaming site called CrazyGames.com. While doing so, it exploits its permissions to gain access to locations, SMS messages, contacts, and call logs; make phone calls; take screenshots; and record audio and video.

National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

NITDA on how malicious apps operate

According to NITDA, once these malicious apps are installed, the malware activates and uses WebView to launch URLs to platforms like YouTube or a mobile gaming site called CrazyGames.com. While doing so, it exploits its permissions to gain access to locations, SMS messages, contacts, and call logs; make phone calls; take screenshots; and record audio and video.

This invasive activity, according to NITDA, not only compromises user privacy but also significantly degrades device performance, leading to occasional slowdowns or freezes.

Identified Malicious Applications

NITDA says it has pinpointed several applications carrying this malware to include Crazy Game, Sexy Videos, TikTok and Weapons.

Recommended Preventive Measures

To protect against these threats, NITDA advises the following steps:

1. Avoid Downloading Listed Apps: Do not download the applications listed above or any apps from unofficial sources.

2. Update Your Device Regularly: Ensure your mobile device is up to date with the latest security patches.

3. Exercise Caution: Be wary of suspicious links or attachments in emails or messages.

User Vigilance Required

NITDA emphasises the importance of user vigilance in combating these threats. By following the recommended preventive measures, users can significantly reduce the risk of malware infections and protect their personal information from being compromised.

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