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Fake Update on Android Chrome Could Clear Your Banks!

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By Abi Gibson - - 5 Mins Read
Android icon placed in front of a computer screen
Featured | Primakov / Shutterstock

Android Chrome users should be wary of a new chrome android malware that could lead to significant financial loss.

The malware, known as Brokewell, is a deceptive software that disguises itself as a Chrome update.

Once installed, it allows cybercriminals to gain access to personal data and potentially take control of the device.

The most concerning aspect of Brokewell is its ability to infiltrate banking apps, posing a significant threat to people's financial security.

Understanding Brokewell: A Tricky Malware

ThreatFabric recently made a discovery that exposed the malicious process of the Brokewell trojan malware.

This malware violates user privacy by acquiring personal data and allows total control over the device. 

The most alarming aspect is that it permits illicit access to banking apps, potentially endangering users' financial accounts.

Also read: Your New Phone Comes with Pre-installed Viruses You Had No Idea About

How Brokewell Works: Targeting Banking Apps

Brokewell uses a sophisticated technique known as overlay attacks, commonly used by Android banking malware.

According to ThreatFabric, it "comes as a fake Chrome update and is tricking users into putting their devices at risk."

By overlaying fake screens onto legitimate banking apps, Brokewell will capture sensitive user credentials, including login details and session cookies. 


Screenshot of fake Chrome download page distributing the Brokewell malware and the screenshot of the authentic Chrome download page
Brokewell virus is designed to imitate legitimate down load pages | PCRISK


This tactic allows cybercriminals to gain illicit access to user's bank accounts, potentially leading to unauthorized transactions and financial losses.

As Forbes reports, the malware is still under development, with new commands being added "daily."

The Threat to Android Users: Vigilance Urged

The emergence of Brokewell shows how cybercrime is changing. It is moving away from obvious malicious apps towards covert methods that look like normal software updates. 

ThreatFabric states, "Brokewell is a significant threat to the banking industry. Unlike traditional malware, which may trigger suspicion due to its suspicious origin, Brokewell exploits users' trust in familiar apps like Chrome, increasing the likelihood of success.” 

Spotting The Malware Affecting Banking App: Why Users Must Stay Alert

Security experts emphasize the importance of vigilant behavior when encountering software updates.

A note from Threat Fabric warns that Brokewell comes"with an extensive set of Device Takeover capabilities... This approach seems innocent (with a carefully crafted page promoting an update for a newer version of the software) and natural (as it occurs during normal browser use) to unsuspecting victims." 

Android users are urged to exercise caution and refrain from downloading updates from untrusted sources.

Official app updates should only be obtained from reliable platforms like the Google Play Store to minimize the risk of installing malware.

Protecting Against Malicious Threats: Best Practices for Android Users

Here are essential guidelines to enhance device security and protect you from threats like Brokewell that target banking apps: 

  1. Exercise Caution with Software Updates

Always verify the authenticity of app updates before downloading them. Security researchers said that users should not fall prey to such updates and avoid clicking on links asking them to update Google Chrome, the default browser on Android phones.

  1. Opt for Trusted App Sources

Download apps exclusively from reputable sources such as the Google Play store. Forbes warns that "malware is still under development, and new commands are being added 'daily.'"

  1.  Maintain Updated Security Measures

Update devices regularly with the latest security patches provided by the manufacturer. Forbes advises users to keep their devices up to date with the latest security patches and consider installing reputable antivirus software for an added layer of protection.

  1. Stay Informed and Vigilant

It's important to stay alert while browsing the internet. In addition, security experts recommend keeping your devices up to date with the latest security patches and considering the installation of reputable antivirus software for an extra layer of protection.

  1. Conduct Due Diligence

Prioritize research before downloading or purchasing software. ThreatFabric emphasizes the importance of researching software prior to downloading/purchasing, e.g., by reading terms and user/expert reviews, checking required permissions, verifying developer legitimacy, etc.