There is this Android virus out there called HummingBad, and it seems the first thing it tries to do is try to get root access.

There are so many device models out there, and the rooting process is different for each model. Even white hat hackers struggle sometimes when trying to find exploits to root a certain device. Therefore, I assume that HummingBad sometimes succeeds and sometimes fails in gaining root access.

When it fails, what kind of damage does it still do?

Let's say someone installs an infected APK with HummingBad. It tries, and fails, to get root access.

Can the failed exploits it has attempted still damage the firmware in some way, even if root access didn't ensue?

Does the virus have any "Plan B" to just be a "normal" Android malware, without root access?

  • The Android privilege model is so broken you don't even need root, you can get near-root privileges just by asking nicely and letting the stupid user accept all those permission requests. I believe the only purpose of full root access is persistence so it's harder to remove. Jul 13, 2016 at 21:44

1 Answer 1


In the case of HummingBad, if rooting fails, the next step is an attempt to socially engineer the user into giving it the required access by posing as an Android update.

  • 2
    Is this from personal experience? Or do you have a source?
    – Fiksdal
    Jul 14, 2016 at 18:19

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