According to Chinese publication Xinhua, the Trojan that powers the botnet is Android.Troj.mdk, a threat first discovered back in 2011.
Once it’s installed on a device, the Trojan allows its master to take complete control of it. The malicious element can be used to harvest messages, phone numbers, contact details, geo-location data and even media files.
Bitdefender experts note that the Trojan also downloads additional applications that slow down the phone’s performance, generate aggressive adware, and drain the device’s battery.
With over 420 million mobile users, China has become an important target for malware developers.