This Is How xHelper Reinstates Itself on Android Phones Even After Factory Reset

mobile malware


  • A malware analyst figured out how xHelper manages to achieve its infamous degree of persistence.
  • The dropper and advert clicker Trojan is invading in the technique partition, obtaining root entry on the system.
  • A reliable way to unearth it from your machine would be to flash the operating procedure partition.

A Kaspersky researcher has ultimately cracked the secret of how xHelper manages to reappear on Android gadgets that have been reset. xHelper is a significantly persistent dropper and advert clicker that has infected tens of 1000's of Android equipment considering that last 12 months. It does not have to have any conversation with the person, registers as an unkillable foreground provider, follows an automated restarting cycle if stopped, and manages to reinstate itself on the contaminated unit even if the user performs a manufacturing unit reset. For this previous cause, some advised that xHelper could even be the result of offer chain attacks on smartphone suppliers.

Researcher Igor Golovin has analyzed xHelper and figured that it follows a matryoshka-type infection chain, which includes the use of multiple modules for obscurity. xHelper gains root obtain on Android 6 and 7, and it installs files straight in the program partition, which must ordinarily be out of access. The information copied to the “/method/bin” and the “/technique/xbin” folders consist of a number of executable and asset files, like a modified edition of the libc.so system library. These are operate upon technique startup and are backed by the “immutable” attribute, so the malicious approach stays unaffected no issue what the user tries to throw at it.

sl_xhelper_05
Resource: Kaspersky

So, taking away xHelper does not outcome in the disinfection of the system, as the malware continue to has superuser rights to rewrite by itself and its data files on the technique partition, and just remain there indefinitely. One particular way to oust it would be to enter “recovery” boot method on your Android smartphone and replace the infected libc.so with a clean up edition of the file. A simple way to kick xHelper out of your gadget after and for all would be to accomplish a fresh new program/firmware set up. This way, the method partition is flashed, and all of the malware’s elements are wiped.

Remember, the bootloader needs to be unlocked to flash your system. Furthermore, you shouldn’t obtain OS pictures from any place, as there are numerous sources out there that distribute firmware pre-infected with malware, even xHelper by itself. Last but not least, not all firmware versions are appropriate with your certain product, so check out the performance spectrum included for your model in advance of continuing with the flashing. If you’re working with a machine that is still functioning on Android 6 or 7, maybe it would be time to take into account one thing fresher and extra safe anyway.

Written by David Minister

Created by ODD Balls

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