What is Cerberus?
Cerberus is a banking Android Trojan that targets covert surveillance, interception of messages, modification of the functionality of infected devices, theft of information, including bank credentials. In addition, Cerberus allows attackers to view messages that contain a one-time code, as well as a two-factor authentication code. Cerberus activity was first observed in July 2019. This article contains step-by-step instructions on how to remove Cerberus banking trojan from Android smartphones/tablets.
How does Cerberus Malware spread?
The virus code contains a worm-like mechanism, which is the reason for the rapid spread. The functions of this mechanism make it possible to upload the entire phone book of the victim to your server. And then, SMS is sent throughout the database. According to experts, more than 11,000,000 phone numbers have been collected from infected devices in two months. The SMS contains links to the attackers’ pages, where they force users to download the .apk file containing the virus code in various ways. Very often, victims of the Cerberus virus received SMS messages allegedly from the goods delivery service. In particular, cases of receiving messages disguised as the international delivery service DHL were recorded. Also, there was information that infected applications can be downloaded directly from the official Google Play Store. But this is not accurate.
What actions can Cerberus perform after obtaining the rights
As soon as the malware gets these rights, it will be able to execute commands and simulate touching the display. While for the owner of the device, these actions will be invisible. Moreover, it can perfom the following actions:
- Intercept and block app notifications;
- Set yourself as an SMS sending the application by default;
- Use USSD commands;
- Make phone calls;
- Steal contact lists;
- Show phishing screens on top of other apps.
The virus can also counteract its removal from the device.
What should I do to avoid getting infected with the Cerberus virus?
Please note that your phone and personal data are safe until you download the app from the SMS link and install it. Even if you missed this moment, know that Cerberus does not have full control over the device, unless the user himself gives access to the “Accessibility service” function. Keep this in mind when giving permissions to unfamiliar applications to enable this option.
With the growing number of mobile device users, the number of viruses has also increased. If earlier Trojans that change settings and infect other files (for example, Skulls for Symbian) were the most dangerous, then modern hacker developments are able to make the gadget stop turning on, deleting the information necessary for the OS. To avoid similar situations in the future:
- Prohibit installations from third-party sources in the settings. You will still be able to download games, movies, music, books, programs from the Play Market store, files in which are manually and automatically checked;
- Download the antivirus. Do not abuse this point – just one such application is enough, simultaneous use of several will cause the device to slow down;
- Check the permissions of the existing software, remove the checkboxes from the “Change system settings” item for services that do not belong to reliable publishers, such as Google.
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Reset to Factory Settings
It will not be so easy to remove the application from the device. Definitely, it is necessary to reset the device to factory settings. Keep in mind that this will lead to the loss of personal data. Before performing the procedure, perform a backup.
- Start up your device in Recovery Mode using previous instruction
- Select the “Factory Reset” option, a notification will appear that it is impossible to reverse the changes;
- After completing the process, restart the phone by clicking on “Reboot“.