Smartphone [Photo: Shutterstock]

From Samsung to Google, Android smartphones are some of the most popular handsets around the world. But if you use an Android, a new report may ring alarm bells for you. Researchers from ESET have warned about new Android spyware that can record your phone calls, steal your contacts and read your private messages.

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The spyware, called Android/SpyC23.A, is distributed via a fake Android app store, using well-known apps as a lure. In a blog about the findings, ESET researcher Lukas Stefanko said: “We identified a fake Android app store used to distribute the malware.

“The malware was hidden in apps posing as AndroidUpdate, Threema and Telegram. The latter two of these lures also downloaded the impersonated apps with full functionality along with the malware.” Worryingly, the researchers’ analysis revealed that Android/SpyC23.A can perform a number of actions including, taking pictures, recording audio, deleting files and even record your screen.

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Based on the findings, the researchers are urging Android users to only download apps from the official Google Play Store. Mr Stefanko added: “To prevent falling victim to spyware, we advise Android users to only install apps from the official Google Play Store. In cases where privacy concerns, access issues or other restrictions prevent users from following this advice, users should take extra care when downloading apps from unofficial sources. We recommend scrutinising the app’s developer, double-checking the permissions requested, and using a trustworthy and up-to-date mobile security solution.”