A brand new “malware” for Android has just appeared! This time it has the shape of an image. Yes, it is a beautiful lake view with an island in the middle. However, once you set this image as your wallpaper, you will cry.
This message was initially spread by “Ice Universe”, and quickly claimed that this only happens on Samsung phones. During my personal tests, it happened to a new mid-range Samsung smartphone but not to the Galaxy Note8.
After using this image as wallpaper, it prevents the phone from entering the lock screen. Hence, the phone enters a boot loop as a fail-safe mechanism, which repeats the entire boot loop a few more times. Eventually, it will enter the recovery menu.
If you eventually end up in safe mode and manage to change the wallpaper, then you are safe. Otherwise, safe mode won’t help you in anything. The only thing you can do now is to factory reset your phone. Yes, all the data will be erased, but at least the phone works later.
We wondered what is going on while we are investigating on our own. From what we know, this image is embedded with some specific codes to cause this problem. Opening the image using a hexadecimal editor has shown that it has metadata indicating “Google Inc. 2016” and “Google Skia”.
Currently, this exploit has occurred on Android 10 devices regardless of the brand. Keep checking as we will update this page when more information is provided.