Security researchers are warning for the rise of a new type of Android malware that uses infected phones to mine cryptocurrency. While this is unlikely to generate large fortunes due to the limited processing power of phones, it may cost victims a pretty penny. The mining performed by Trojan.AndroidOS.Loapi is reportedly done so aggressively that it can physically damage infected phones in a matter of days.
ARS Technica reposted photos of an infected phone that started showing a bulging battery after just two ays:
Researchers from antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab have dubbed it a "jack of all trades" to emphasize the breadth of nefarious things it can do. Most notably, Loapi apps contain a module that mines Monero, a newer type of digital currency that's less resource intensive than Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies. The module allows the malware creators to generate new coins by leaching the electricity and hardware of infected phone owners.
But the lower demands of Monero mining by no means stop Loapi from straining infected phones. Kaspersky Lab researchers tested Loapi in a lab setting. After two days, the mining caused the battery in the phone to bulge so badly it deformed the cover.