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How to remove Autolycos malware

Also Known As: Autolycos virus
Type: Trojan
Damage level: Severe

What is Autolycos?

Autolycos is the name of Android malware that infects devices via trojanized applications downloaded from the Google Play Store. Those apps were spotted in the middle of 2021. Most of them are no longer available on the Google Play Store. Autolycos subscribes victims to its premium services.

Autolycos Android malware

More about Autolycos

Autolycos was distributed via trojanized apps named Creative 3D Launcher, Coco Camera v1.1, Freeglow Camera 1.0.0, Gif Emoji Keyboard, Vlog Star Video Editor, Wow Beauty Camera, Funny Camera, and Razer Keyboard & Theme. The most recent ones were named Biceps Exercise and Neon - Keyboard - LED.

The most downloaded apps were Vlog Star Video Editor and Creative 3D Launcher. Both of them were downloaded by more than a million users. In total, Autolycos was installed over 3 million times. The purpose of Autolycos is to subscribe victims to its premium services. It executes URLs on a remote browser and includes the result in HTTP requests instead of Webview.

Also, apps with Autolycos hidden in them requested permission to read SMS. If allowed, they could access/read SMS content. It is known that apps containing the Autolycos malware were promoted using advertising campaigns on social media platforms like Facebook.

Threat Summary:
Name Autolycos virus
Threat Type Android malware, malicious application, unwanted application.
Detection Names (Biceps Exercise) Ikarus (Win32.Outbreak), Full List (VirusTotal)
Detection Names Ikarus (Win32.Outbreak), Full List (VirusTotal)
Symptoms The device is running slow, system settings are modified without user's permission, questionable applications appear, data and battery usage is increased significantly, browsers redirect to questionable websites, intrusive advertisements are delivered.
Distribution methods Trojanized apps on Google Play Store
Damage Stolen personal information (private messages), decreased device performance, battery is drained quickly, decreased Internet speed, huge data losses, monetary losses.
Malware Removal (Android) To eliminate malware infections our security researchers recommend scanning your Android device with legitimate anti-malware software. We recommend Avast, Bitdefender, ESET or Malwarebytes.

Autolycos promotion

It is known that apps containing the Autolycos malware were promoted using advertising campaigns on social media platforms like Facebook. Some of the apps with Autolycos hidden in them had positive reviews written by bots on Google Play store.

More examples of Android malware are Drinik, FurBall, and FlyTrap.

How did Autolycos infiltrate my device?

Threat actors distributed Autolycos using various trojanized applications (examples are provided in our article above) on Google Play Store. In order to increase downloads, threat actors used advertising campaigns on social media and bots designed to write positive reviews. Autolycos started its malicious activities upon the installation of apps with Autolycos hidden in them.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Keep Play Protect active and the operating system (and installed apps) updated. Never download apps from questionable sources (e.g., third-party stores and unofficial pages). Download apps from verified sources such as Google Play Store.

Always read reviews before downloading apps. Avoid downloading apps with no or few reviews. Use a reputed antivirus solution for protection. Do not click links or open files in SMS or emails sent from unknown senders/addresses.

List of apps known to be disguising Autolycos malware:

  • Vlog Star Video Editor
  • Creative 3D Launcher
  • Funny Camera
  • Wow Beauty Camera
  • Gif Emoji Keyboard
  • Razer Keyboard & Theme
  • Freeglow Camera 1.0.0
  • Coco Camera v1.1
  • Biceps Exercise
  • Neon - Keyboard - LED

Screenshot of the Neon Keyboard - LED app containing Autolycos on Google Play:

Autolycos malware trojanized Neon Keyboard - LED app on Google Play

Quick menu:

Delete browsing history from the Chrome web browser:

Deleting web browsing history from Chrome in Android operating system (step 1)

Tap the "Menu" button (three dots on the right-upper corner of the screen) and select "History" in the opened dropdown menu.

Deleting web browsing history from Chrome in Android operating system (step 2)

Tap "Clear browsing data", select "ADVANCED" tab, choose the time range and data types you want to delete and tap "Clear data".

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Disable browser notifications in the Chrome web browser:

Disabling browser notifications in the Chrome browser in Android operating system (step 1)

Tap the "Menu" button (three dots on the right-upper corner of the screen) and select "Settings" in the opened dropdown menu.

Disabling browser notifications in the Chrome browser in Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you see "Site settings" option and tap it. Scroll down until you see "Notifications" option and tap it.

Disabling browser notifications in the Chrome browser in Android operating system (step 3)

Find the websites that deliver browser notifications, tap on them and click "Clear & reset". This will remove permissions granted for these websites to deliver notifications. However, once you visit the same site again, it may ask for a permission again. You can choose whether to give these permissions or not (if you choose to decline the website will go to "Blocked" section and will no longer ask you for the permission).

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Reset the Chrome web browser:

Resetting Chrome browser to default in Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Apps" and tap it.

Resetting Chrome browser to default in Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you find "Chrome" application, select it and tap "Storage" option.

Resetting Chrome browser to default in Android operating system (step 3)

Tap "MANAGE STORAGE", then "CLEAR ALL DATA" and confirm the action by taping "OK". Note that resetting the browser will eliminate all data stored within. This means that all saved logins/passwords, browsing history, non-default settings and other data will be deleted. You will also have to re-login into all websites as well.

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Delete browsing history from the Firefox web browser:

Delete browsing history from the Firefox in the Android operating system (step 1)

Tap the "Menu" button (three dots on the right-upper corner of the screen) and select "History" in the opened dropdown menu.

Delete browsing history from the Firefox in the Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you see "Clear private data" and tap it. Select data types you want to remove and tap "CLEAR DATA".

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Disable browser notifications in the Firefox web browser:

Disable browser notifications in the Firefox web browser in the Android operating system (step 1)

Visit the website that is delivering browser notifications, tap the icon displayed on the left of URL bar (the icon will not necessarily be a "Lock") and select "Edit Site Settings".

Disable browser notifications in the Firefox web browser in the Android operating system (step 2)

In the opened pop-up opt-in the "Notifications" option and tap "CLEAR".

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Reset the Firefox web browser:

Resetting Firefox browser in the Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Apps" and tap it.

Resetting Firefox browser in the Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you find "Firefox" application, select it and tap "Storage" option.

Resetting Firefox browser in the Android operating system (step 3)

Tap "CLEAR DATA" and confirm the action by taping "DELETE". Note that resetting the browser will eliminate all data stored within. This means that all saved logins/passwords, browsing history, non-default settings and other data will be deleted. You will also have to re-login into all websites as well.

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Uninstall potentially unwanted and/or malicious applications:

Removing unwanted/malicious applications from the Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Apps" and tap it.

Removing unwanted/malicious applications from the Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you see a potentially unwanted and/or malicious application, select it and tap "Uninstall". If, for some reason, you are unable to remove the selected app (e.g., you are prompted with an error message), you should try using the "Safe Mode".

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Boot the Android device in "Safe Mode":

The "Safe Mode" in Android operating system temporarily disables all third-party applications from running. Using this mode is a good way to diagnose and solve various issues (e.g., remove malicious applications that prevent users you from doing so when the device is running "normally").

Booting Android device in Safe Mode

Push the "Power" button and hold it until you see the "Power off" screen. Tap the "Power off" icon and hold it. After a few seconds the "Safe Mode" option will appear and you'll be able run it by restarting the device.

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Check the battery usage of various applications:

Checking the battery usage of various applications in the Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Device maintenance" and tap it.

Checking the battery usage of various applications in the Android operating system (step 2)

Tap "Battery" and check the usage of each application. Legitimate/genuine applications are designed to use as low energy as possible in order to provide the best user experience and to save power. Therefore, high battery usage may indicate that the application is malicious.

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Check the data usage of various applications:

Checking data usage of various applications in the Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Connections" and tap it.

Checking data usage of various applications in the Android operating system (step 2)

Scroll down until you see "Data usage" and select this option. As with battery, legitimate/genuine applications are designed to minimize data usage as much as possible. This means that huge data usage may indicate presence of malicious application. Note that some malicious applications might be designed to operate when the device is connected to wireless network only. For this reason, you should check both Mobile and Wi-Fi data usage.

Checking data usage of various applications in the Android operating system (step 3)

If you find an application that uses a lot of data even though you never use it, then we strongly advise you to uninstall it as soon as possible.

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Install the latest software updates:

Keeping the software up-to-date is a good practice when it comes to device safety. The device manufacturers are continually releasing various security patches and Android updates in order to fix errors and bugs that can be abused by cyber criminals. An outdated system is way more vulnerable, which is why you should always be sure that your device's software is up-to-date.

Installing software updates in the Android operating system (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Software update" and tap it.

Installing software updates in the Android operating system (step 2)

Tap "Download updates manually" and check if there are any updates available. If so, install them immediately. We also recommend to enable the "Download updates automatically" option - it will enable the system to notify you once an update is released and/or install it automatically.

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Reset the system to its default state:

Performing a "Factory Reset" is a good way to remove all unwanted applications, restore system's settings to default and clean the device in general. However, you must keep in mind that all data within the device will be deleted, including photos, video/audio files, phone numbers (stored within the device, not the SIM card), SMS messages, and so forth. In other words, the device will be restored to its primal state.

You can also restore the basic system settings and/or simply network settings as well.

Resetting the Android operating system to its default (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "About phone" and tap it.

Resetting the Android operating system to its default (step 2)

Scroll down until you see "Reset" and tap it. Now choose the action you want to perform:
"Reset settings" - restore all system settings to default;
"Reset network settings" - restore all network-related settings to default;
"Factory data reset" - reset the entire system and completely delete all stored data;

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Disable applications that have administrator privileges:

If a malicious application gets administrator-level privileges it can seriously damage the system. To keep the device as safe as possible you should always check what apps have such privileges and disable the ones that shouldn't.

Disabling Android applications that have administrator privileges (step 1)

Go to "Settings", scroll down until you see "Lock screen and security" and tap it.

Disabling Android applications that have administrator privileges (step 2)

Scroll down until you see "Other security settings", tap it and then tap "Device admin apps".

Disabling Android applications that have administrator privileges (step 3)

Identify applications that should not have administrator privileges, tap them and then tap "DEACTIVATE".

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the biggest issues that malware can cause?

Identity theft, financial losses, data loss, decreased device performance, loss of online accounts, and additional infections.

What is the purpose of Autolycos malware?

Autolycos malware subscribes victims to its premium services via apps that have it hidden in them.

How did Autolycos infiltrate my device?

It is known that Autolycos was distributed via Google Play Store (apps that were available on Google Play). The names of the apps that contained Autolycos are mentioned in our article above). Those apps are no longer available on the Google Play Store. However, users who still have them may experience monetary loss.

Will Combo Cleaner protect me from malware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and remove almost all known malware. Since high-end malware usually hides deep in the system, a full system scan is necessary to remove it.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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