Have you ever seen people who have a sticky note or some type of cover over their laptop camera? If this is you, you might want to consider finding a camera cover for your smartphone. AVG Virus Lab recently discovered malware that affects the shutdown process of your mobile phone and could possibly access your camera while your phone is supposedly “off.”

Essentially, this malware hijacks the shutdown process of your phone and causes you to believe that the phone is shut down, when in reality the phone is still running. According to AVG’s blog post:

After pressing the power button, you will see the real shutdown animation, and the phone appears off. Although the screen is black, it is still on.While the phone is in this state, the malware can make outgoing calls, take pictures and perform many other tasks without notifying the user.

This vulnerability only affects devices that have been rooted. Rooting your phone gives you direct access to the operating system of a phone, and allows you to change settings that the manufacturer would typically block.

While it is possible that this malware could be received from the Google Play Store, it is more likely that you would receive this type of threat through third-party app stores. This is due to the fact that third-party app store’s security restrictions are more relaxed than Google’s.

AVG goes into great detail on how this malware could possibly work and how it affects your phone. I will admit reading through their article might be a little difficult if you do not have a basic coding background, so don’t get discouraged if it’s difficult to understand. But they do provide some good examples and for us “nerds” it is interesting to know how these threats work behind the scenes.

As time passes, we will continue to see these types of threats since new threats are constantly being created and at times can be difficult to prevent, even if you have an antivirus security program. We suggest that you constantly watch what you are doing and monitor any unusual activity. Don’t press the ad that comes up saying you won a million dollars, because more often than not it’s too good to be true! Also, avoid anything that says “Trojan.” Trust me, it’s not your favorite contraceptive.

With that said, tell us your thoughts? What are your techniques to stay safe in the world on security threats? What best practices do you have? Let us know in the comment section below.