Four new malicious programs are currently available in the Google Play app store. They direct users to malicious sites that steal sensitive information or generate ‘pay-per-click’ revenue for their operators.
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Credit Card Fraud is a growing problem that occurs at all levels of the marketing process. Sites like these offer victims to download fake security tools or updates, to trick users into installing malicious files manually.
At the time of publishing, the app is still present on Google Play under a developer account called “Mobile apps Group” and has an install count of more than one million.
In the past, a developer who created Ads by Malwarebytes had the same malicious app published in Google Play twice. The first time, it was allowed to continue publishing apps after submitting a cleaned-up version of their malware. Now though, with this implementation of detection techniques, Google is better able to investigate apps and potentially stop them before they are published.
Four of the malicious apps uncovered included:
The easiest and fastest way to connect your device with your car.
Bluetooth app sender, with over 50,000 installs
Driver: 10,000+ installs
Mobile transfer: smart switch, with over 1,000 installs
Our app is getting rave reviews, but unfortunately it isn’t on Google Play. This can be because of our intrusive ads that open automatically in new browser tabs. We’re trying to improve the experience for our users, so we’re taking steps toward resolving these issues.
Meetup is an online platform and community for people who love to share their passions. The developers of the site have responded to some of these comments, offering to help resolve any problems and offering suggestions on how they might help in the future.
BleepingComputer has not received a response from the Mobile apps Group in regards to our findings.
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A little-known attribute of the app is that, after 72 hours, it will start to show ads and launch phishing links in a web browser. If a user does not pay attention to what’s happening quick enough, it can continue to open more tabs with similar content for an entire day.
A study by security researchers found that new browser tabs are still being opened even when the device is locked. When the user wents back after a while, they would find phishing sites and ad pages open.
The Manifest File is an important file in development where developers can manage the essential parameters of their app. It’s typically used to help debug and troubleshoot performance issues with apps, but quite often it also reveals details about what certain apps are doing specifically when run on a machine. This helps identify potential issues with malicious behavior or suspiciously abnormal app activities
This method, which is usually unintentional, helped the researchers to spot the actions easier.
If you’ve installed an app from an unofficial Android store and noticed unwanted behavior on your device, first check user reviews to determine whether it’s adware. Monitoring battery usage, along with network and data activity, will also reveal if a potentially unwanted program has been installed on your device. It can be difficult to tell how your device is performing because of the many apps running at the same time. Keep Google Play Protect active as well in order to make sure it’s not infected by other programs or malware.
If you have any of the above apps on your Android device, it’s recommended to remove them for safe and secure use.
When a company has a history of violating Google’s policies, it’s important to keep up with the latest news. Our team has been in contact with Google and will update this story as soon as we hear back from them.