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This Malicious App Abused Hacked Devices to Create Fake Accounts on Multiple Platforms

This Malicious App Abused Hacked Devices to Create Fake Accounts on Multiple Platforms
Nov 30, 2022
A malicious Android SMS application discovered on the Google Play Store has been found to stealthily harvest text messages with the goal of creating accounts on a wide range of platforms like Facebook, Google, and WhatsApp. The app, named  Symoo  (com.vanjan.sms), had over 100,000 downloads and functioned as a relay for transmitting messages to a server, which advertises an account creation service. This is achieved by using the phone numbers associated with the infected devices as a means to gather the one-time password that's typically sent to verify the user when setting up new accounts. "The malware asks the phone number of the user in the first screen," security researcher Maxime Ingrao, who discovered the malware,  said , while also requesting for SMS permissions. "Then it pretends to load the application but remains all the time on this page, it is to hide the interface of the received SMS and that the user does not see the SMS of subscriptions to the va

These Dropper Apps On Play Store Targeting Over 200 Banking and Cryptocurrency Wallets

These Dropper Apps On Play Store Targeting Over 200 Banking and Cryptocurrency Wallets
Oct 28, 2022
Five malicious dropper Android apps with over 130,000 cumulative installations have been discovered on the Google Play Store distributing banking trojans like  SharkBot  and  Vultur , which are capable of stealing financial data and performing on-device fraud. "These droppers continue the unstopping evolution of malicious apps sneaking to the official store," Dutch mobile security firm ThreatFabric told The Hacker News in a statement. "This evolution includes following newly introduced policies and masquerading as file managers and overcoming limitations by side-loading the malicious payload through the web browser." Targets of these  droppers  include 231 banking and cryptocurrency wallet apps from financial institutions in Italy, the U.K., Germany, Spain, Poland, Austria, the U.S., Australia, France, and the Netherlands. Dropper apps on official app stores like Google Play have  increasingly   become  a popular and efficient technique to distribute banking m

These 16 Clicker Malware Infected Android Apps Were Downloaded Over 20 Million Times

These 16 Clicker Malware Infected Android Apps Were Downloaded Over 20 Million Times
Oct 20, 2022
As many as 16 malicious apps with over 20 million cumulative downloads have been taken down from the Google Play Store after they were caught committing mobile ad fraud. The  Clicker  malware masqueraded as seemingly harmless utilities like cameras, currency/unit converters, QR code readers, note-taking apps, and dictionaries, among others, in a bid to trick users into downloading them, cybersecurity firm McAfee  said . The list of offending apps is as follows - High-Speed Camera (com.hantor.CozyCamera) - 10,000,000+ downloads Smart Task Manager (com.james.SmartTaskManager) - 5,000,000+ downloads Flashlight+ (kr.caramel.flash_plus) - 1,000,000+ downloads 달력메모장 (com.smh.memocalendar) - 1,000,000+ downloads K-Dictionary (com.joysoft.wordBook) - 1,000,000+ downloads BusanBus (com.kmshack.BusanBus) - 1,000,000+ downloads Flashlight+ (com.candlencom.candleprotest) - 500,000+ downloads Quick Note (com.movinapp.quicknote) - 500,000+ downloads Currency Converter (com.smartwho.Sma

Experts Uncover 85 Apps with 13 Million Downloads Involved in Ad Fraud Scheme

Experts Uncover 85 Apps with 13 Million Downloads Involved in Ad Fraud Scheme
Sep 27, 2022
As many as 75 apps on Google Play and 10 on Apple App Store have been discovered engaging in ad fraud as part of an ongoing campaign that commenced in 2019. The latest iteration, dubbed  Scylla  by Online fraud-prevention firm HUMAN Security, follows similar attack waves in August 2019 and late 2020 that go by the codename Poseidon and Charybdis, respectively. Prior to their removal from the app storefronts, the apps had been collectively installed more than 13 million times. The original Poseidon operation comprised over 40 Android apps that were designed to display ads out of context or hidden from the view of the device user. Charybdis, on the other hand, was an improvement over the former by making use of code obfuscation tactics to target advertising platforms. Scylla presents the latest adaption of the scheme in that it expands beyond Android to make a foray into the iOS ecosystem for the first time, alongside relying on additional layers of code roundabout using the  All

Cybercriminals Developing BugDrop Malware to Bypass Android Security Features

Cybercriminals Developing BugDrop Malware to Bypass Android Security Features
Aug 17, 2022
In a sign that malicious actors continue to find ways to work around Google Play Store security protections, researchers have spotted a previously undocumented Android dropper trojan that's currently in development. "This new malware tries to abuse devices using a novel technique, not seen before in Android malware, to spread the extremely dangerous  Xenomorph  banking trojan, allowing criminals to perform On-Device Fraud on victim's devices," ThreatFabric's Han Sahin said in a statement shared with The Hacker News. Dubbed  BugDrop  by the Dutch security firm, the  dropper app  is explicitly designed to defeat new features introduced in the upcoming version of Android that aim to make it difficult for malware to request Accessibility Services privileges from victims. ThreatFabric attributed the dropper to a cybercriminal group known as "Hadoken Security," which is also behind the creation and distribution of the  Xenomorph and Gymdrop  Android malwa

Several New Play Store Apps Spotted Distributing Joker, Facestealer and Coper Malware

Several New Play Store Apps Spotted Distributing Joker, Facestealer and Coper Malware
Jul 19, 2022
Google has taken steps to ax dozens of fraudulent apps from the official Play Store that were spotted propagating Joker, Facestealer, and Coper malware families through the virtual marketplace. While the Android storefront is considered to be a trusted source for discovering and installing apps, bad actors have repeatedly found ways to sneak past security barriers erected by Google in hopes of luring unsuspecting users into downloading malware-laced apps. The latest findings from  Zscaler ThreatLabz  and  Pradeo  are no different. "Joker is one of the most  prominent malware families  targeting Android devices," researchers Viral Gandhi and Himanshu Sharma said in a Monday report. "Despite public awareness of this particular malware, it keeps finding its way into Google's official app store by regularly modifying the malware's trace signatures including updates to the code, execution methods, and payload-retrieving techniques." Categorized as  fleecewa

10 Most Prolific Banking Trojans Targeting Hundreds of Financial Apps with Over a Billion Users

10 Most Prolific Banking Trojans Targeting Hundreds of Financial Apps with Over a Billion Users
Jun 06, 2022
10 of the most prolific mobile banking trojans have set their eyes on 639 financial applications that are available on the Google Play Store and have been cumulatively downloaded over 1.01 billion times. Some of the most targeted apps include Walmart-backed PhonePe, Binance, Cash App, Garanti BBVA Mobile, La Banque Postale, Ma Banque, Caf - Mon Compte, Postepay, and BBVA México. These apps alone account for more than 260 million downloads from the official app marketplace. Of the 639 apps tracked, 121 are based in the U.S., followed by the U.K. (55), Italy (43), Turkey (34), Australia (33), France (31), Spain (29), and Portugal (27). " TeaBot  is targeting 410 of the 639 applications tracked," mobile security company Zimperium  said  in a new analysis of Android threats during the first half of 2022. " Octo  targets 324 of the 639 applications tracked and is the only one targeting popular, non-financial applications for credential theft." Aside from  TeaBot  (

Another Set of Joker Trojan-Laced Android Apps Resurfaces on Google Play Store

Another Set of Joker Trojan-Laced Android Apps Resurfaces on Google Play Store
May 09, 2022
A new set of trojanized apps spread via the Google Play Store has been observed distributing the notorious Joker malware on compromised Android devices. Joker, a  repeat   offender , refers to a class of harmful apps that are used for billing and SMS fraud, while also performing a number of actions of a malicious hacker's choice, such as stealing text messages, contact lists, and device information. Despite continued attempts on the part of Google to scale up its defenses, the apps have been continually iterated to search for gaps and slip into the app store undetected. "They're usually spread on Google Play, where scammers download legitimate apps from the store, add malicious code to them and re-upload them to the store under a different name," Kaspersky researcher Igor Golovin  said  in a report published last week. The trojanized apps, taking the place of their removed counterparts, often appear as messaging, health tracking, and PDF scanner apps that, once

New Octo Banking Trojan Spreading via Fake Apps on Google Play Store

New Octo Banking Trojan Spreading via Fake Apps on Google Play Store
Apr 08, 2022
A number of rogue Android apps that have been cumulatively installed from the official Google Play Store more than 50,000 times are being used to target banks and other financial entities. The rental banking trojan, dubbed  Octo , is said to be a rebrand of another Android malware called ExobotCompact, which, in turn, is a "lite" replacement for its Exobot predecessor, Dutch mobile security firm ThreatFabric  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. Exobot is also likely said to have paved the way for a separate descendant called Coper, that was initially  discovered  targeting Colombian users around July 2021, with newer infections targeting Android users in different European Countries. "Coper malware apps are modular in design and include a multi-stage infection method and many defensive tactics to survive removal attempts," Cybersecurity company Cyble  noted  in an analysis of the malware last month. Like other Android banking trojans, the rogue apps

TeaBot Android Banking Malware Spreads Again Through Google Play Store Apps

TeaBot Android Banking Malware Spreads Again Through Google Play Store Apps
Mar 02, 2022
An Android banking trojan designed to steal credentials and SMS messages has been observed once again sneaking past Google Play Store protections to target users of more than 400 banking and financial apps, including those from Russia, China, and the U.S. "TeaBot RAT capabilities are achieved via the device screen's live streaming (requested on-demand) plus the abuse of Accessibility Services for remote interaction and key-logging," Cleafy researchers  said  in a report. "This enables Threat Actors (TAs) to perform ATO (Account Takeover) directly from the compromised phone, also known as 'On-device fraud.'" Also known by the names Anatsa and Toddler, TeaBot first  emerged  in May 2021, camouflaging its malicious functions by posing as seemingly innocuous PDF document and QR code scanner apps that are distributed via the official Google Play Store instead of third-party apps stores or via fraudulent websites. Further research published by Swiss cyber

Over 500,000 Android Users Downloaded a New Joker Malware App from Play Store

Over 500,000 Android Users Downloaded a New Joker Malware App from Play Store
Dec 20, 2021
A malicious Android app with more than 500,000 downloads from the Google Play app store has been found hosting malware that stealthily exfiltrates users' contact lists to an attacker-controlled server and signs up users to unwanted paid premium subscriptions without their knowledge. The latest Joker malware was found in a messaging-focused app named  Color Message  ("com.guo.smscolor.amessage"), which has since been removed from the official app marketplace. In addition, it has been observed simulating clicks in order to generate revenue from malicious ads and connecting to servers located in Russia. Color Message "accesses users' contact list and exfiltrates it over the network [and] automatically subscribes to unwanted paid services," mobile security firm Pradeo  noted . "To make it difficult to be removed, the application has the capability to hides it icon once installed." "We is [sic] committed to ensuring that the app is as useful

4 Major Privacy and Security Updates From Google You Should Know About

4 Major Privacy and Security Updates From Google You Should Know About
May 07, 2021
Google has announced a number of user-facing and under-the-hood changes in an attempt to boost privacy and security, including rolling out two-factor authentication automatically to all eligible users and bringing iOS-styled privacy labels to Android app listings. "Today we ask people who have enrolled in  two-step verification  (2SV) to confirm it's really them with a simple tap via a Google prompt on their phone whenever they sign in," the company  said . "Soon we'll start automatically enrolling users in 2SV if their accounts are appropriately configured." Google Play To Get Apple-Like Privacy Labels The Google Play Store for Android is also getting a huge overhaul on the privacy front. The search giant said it plans to include a new  safety section  for app listings that highlights the type of data being collected and stored — such as approximate or precise location, contacts, personal information, photos and videos, and audio files — and how the dat

BRATA Malware Poses as Android Security Scanners on Google Play Store

BRATA Malware Poses as Android Security Scanners on Google Play Store
Apr 13, 2021
A new set of malicious Android apps have been caught posing as app security scanners on the official Play Store to distribute a backdoor capable of gathering sensitive information. "These malicious apps urge users to update Chrome, WhatsApp, or a PDF reader, yet instead of updating the app in question, they take full control of the device by abusing accessibility services," cybersecurity firm McAfee  said  in an analysis published on Monday. The apps in question were designed to target users in Brazil, Spain, and the U.S., with most of them accruing anywhere between 1,000 to 5,000 installs. Another app named DefenseScreen racked up 10,000 installs before it was removed from the Play Store last year. First documented by Kaspersky in August 2019,  BRATA  (short for "Brazilian Remote Access Tool Android") emerged as an Android malware with screen recording abilities before steadily morphing into a banking trojan. "It combines full device control capabilitie

Hackers Tampered With APKPure Store to Distribute Malware Apps

Hackers Tampered With APKPure Store to Distribute Malware Apps
Apr 10, 2021
APKPure, one of the largest alternative app stores outside of the Google Play Store, was infected with malware this week, allowing threat actors to distribute Trojans to Android devices. In a supply-chain attack similar to that of German telecommunications  equipment manufacturer Gigaset , the APKPure client version 3.17.18 is said to have been tampered with in an attempt to trick unsuspecting users into downloading and installing malicious applications linked to the malicious code built into the APKpure app. The development was reported by researchers from  Doctor Web  and  Kaspersky . "This trojan belongs to the dangerous Android.Triada malware family capable of downloading, installing and uninstalling software without users' permission," Doctor Web researchers said. According to Kaspersky, the APKPure version 3.17.18 was tweaked to incorporate an advertisement SDK that acts as a Trojan dropper designed to deliver other malware to a victim's device. "This

9 Android Apps On Google Play Caught Distributing AlienBot Banker and MRAT Malware

9 Android Apps On Google Play Caught Distributing AlienBot Banker and MRAT Malware
Mar 09, 2021
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered a new malware dropper contained in as many as 9 Android apps distributed via Google Play Store that deploys a second stage malware capable of gaining intrusive access to the financial accounts of victims as well as full control of their devices. "This dropper, dubbed Clast82, utilizes a series of techniques to avoid detection by Google Play Protect detection, completes the evaluation period successfully, and changes the payload dropped from a non-malicious payload to the AlienBot Banker and MRAT," Check Point researchers Aviran Hazum, Bohdan Melnykov, and Israel Wernik said in a write-up published today. The apps that were used for the campaign include Cake VPN, Pacific VPN, eVPN, BeatPlayer, QR/Barcode Scanner MAX, Music Player, tooltipnatorlibrary, and QRecorder. After the findings were reported to Google on January 28, the rogue apps were removed from the Play Store on February 9.  Malware authors have resorted to a variety o

Joker Malware Apps Once Again Bypass Google's Security to Spread via Play Store

Joker Malware Apps Once Again Bypass Google's Security to Spread via Play Store
Jul 09, 2020
Cybersecurity researchers took the wraps off yet another instance of Android malware hidden under the guise of legitimate applications to stealthily subscribe unsuspecting users for premium services without their knowledge. In a report published by Check Point research today, the malware — infamously called Joker (or Bread) — has found another trick to bypass Google's Play Store protections: obfuscate the malicious DEX executable inside the application as Base64 encoded strings, which are then decoded and loaded on the compromised device. Following responsible disclosure by Check Point researchers, the 11 apps ( list and hashes here ) in question were removed by Google from the Play Store on April 30, 2020. "The Joker malware is tricky to detect, despite Google's investment in adding Play Store protections," said Check Point 's Aviran Hazum, who identified the new modus operandi of Joker malware. "Although Google removed the malicious apps from the P

Google Bans 600 Android Apps from Play Store for Serving Disruptive Ads

Google Bans 600 Android Apps from Play Store for Serving Disruptive Ads
Feb 21, 2020
Google has banned nearly 600 Android apps from the Play Store for bombarding users with disruptive ads and violating its advertising guidelines. The company categorizes disruptive ads as "ads that are displayed to users in unexpected ways, including impairing or interfering with the usability of device functions," such as a full-screen ad served when attempting to make a phone call. Although Google didn't name the specific apps in question, many of the apps — which had been installed more than 4.5 billion times — primarily targeted English-speaking users and were mainly from developers based in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and India, according to Buzzfeed News. Highlighting that malicious developers are getting "more savvy in deploying and masking disruptive ads," the company said it has developed new counter mechanisms to detect such behavior. Trouble in Google Play Store This is not the first time adware apps have been removed from the Google P

WARNING — Malware Found in CamScanner Android App With 100+ Million Users

WARNING — Malware Found in CamScanner Android App With 100+ Million Users
Aug 27, 2019
Beware! Attackers can remotely hijack your Android device and steal data stored on it, if you are using free version of  CamScanner , a highly-popular Phone PDF creator app with more than 100 million downloads on Google Play Store. So, to be safe, just uninstall the CamScanner app from your Android device now, as Google has already removed the app from its official Play Store. Unfortunately, CamScanner has recently gone rogue as researchers found a hidden Trojan Dropper module within the app that could allow remote attackers to secretly download and install malicious program on users' Android devices without their knowledge. However, the malicious module doesn't actually reside in the code of CamScanner Android app itself; instead, it is part of a 3rd-party advertising library that recently was introduced in the PDF creator app. Discovered by Kaspersky security researchers, the issue came to light after many CamScanner users spotted suspicious behavior and posted neg
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