Ghost Push

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Ghost Push is a family of malware that infects the Android OS by automatically gaining root access, downloading malicious software, masquerading as a system app, and then losing root access, which then makes it virtually impossible to remove the infection even by factory reset unless the firmware is reflashed. The malware hogs all the system resources, making the phone unresponsive and draining the battery. Advertisements continually appear either as full or partial screen ads or in the status bar. Unwanted apps and malicious software are automatically downloaded and installed when connected to the internet. The malware is hard to detect.[1]


It was discovered in September 18, 2015 by Cheetah Mobile's CM Security Research Lab.[2][3][4][5][6]

Further investigation of Ghost Push revealed more recent variants, which, unlike older ones, employ the following routines that make them harder to remove and detect:[7]

  • encrypt its APK and shell code,
  • run a malicious DEX file without notification,
  • add a “guard code” to monitor its own processes,
  • rename .APK (Android application package) files used to install the malicious apps,
  • and launch the new activity as the payload.