The Hacker News Logo
Subscribe to Newsletter
CrowdSec

The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Google Play Store

Fake WhatsApp On Google Play Store Downloaded By Over 1 Million Android Users

Fake WhatsApp On Google Play Store Downloaded By Over 1 Million Android Users
November 03, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Cybercriminals are known to take advantage of everything that's popular among people in order to spread malware, and Google's official Play Store has always proved no less than an excellent place for hackers to get their job done. Yesterday some users spotted a fake version of the most popular WhatsApp messaging app for Android on the official Google Play Store that has already tricked more than one million users into downloading it. Dubbed Update WhatsApp Messenger , came from an app developer who pretended to be the actual WhatsApp service with the developer title "WhatsApp Inc."—the same title the actual WhatsApp messenger uses on Google Play. You might be wondering how the sneaky app developer was able to use the same title as the legitimate Facebook-owned maker of the messaging client—thanks to a Unicode character space. The app maker added a Unicode character space after the actual WhatsApp Inc. name, which in computer code reads WhatsApp+Inc%C2%A0 .

Google Play Store Launches Bug Bounty Program to Protect Popular Android Apps

Google Play Store Launches Bug Bounty Program to Protect Popular Android Apps
October 19, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Better late than never. Google has finally launched a bug bounty program for Android apps on Google Play Store, inviting security researchers to find and report vulnerabilities in some of the most popular Android apps. Dubbed " Google Play Security Reward ," the bug bounty program offers security researchers to work directly with Android app developers to find and fix vulnerabilities in their apps, for which Google will pay $1000 in rewards. "The goal of the program is to further improve app security which will benefit developers, Android users, and the entire Google Play ecosystem," the technology giant says in a blog post published today. Google has collaborated with bug bounty platform, HackerOne, to manage backend for this program, like submitting reports and inviting white-hat hackers and researchers. White-hat hackers who wish to participate can submit their findings directly to the app developers. Once the security vulnerability has been resolved, th

Yet Another Android Malware Infects Over 4.2 Million Google Play Store Users

Yet Another Android Malware Infects Over 4.2 Million Google Play Store Users
September 15, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Even after so many efforts by Google, malicious apps somehow managed to fool its Play Store's anti-malware protections and infect people with malicious software. The same happened once again when at least 50 apps managed to make its way onto Google Play Store and were successfully downloaded as many as 4.2 million times—one of the biggest malware outbreaks. Security firm Check Point on Thursday published a blog post revealing at least 50 Android apps that were free to download on official Play Store and were downloaded between 1 million and 4.2 million times before Google removed them. These Android apps come with hidden malware payload that secretly registers victims for paid online services, sends fraudulent premium text messages from victims' smartphones and leaves them to pay the bill—all without the knowledge or permission of users. Dubbed ExpensiveWall by Check Point researchers because it was found in the Lovely Wallpaper app, the malware comes hidden in fre

More than 1,000 Spyware Apps Found On Android App Stores

More than 1,000 Spyware Apps Found On Android App Stores
August 11, 2017Swati Khandelwal
If you think you are downloading apps from Google Play Store and you are secure, then watch out! Someone has managed to flood third-party app stores and Google Play Store with more than a thousand malicious apps, which can monitor almost anything a user does on their mobile device from silently recording calls to make outbound calls without the user's interaction. Dubbed SonicSpy , the spyware has been spreading aggressively across Android app stores since at least February and is being distributed by pretending itself to be a messaging app—and it actually offers a messaging service. SonicSpy Can Perform a Whole Lots of Malicious Tasks At the same time, the SonicSpy spyware apps perform various malicious tasks, including silently recording calls and audio from the microphone, hijacking the device's camera and snap photos, making outbound calls without the user's permission, and sending text messages to numbers chosen by the attacker. Besides this, the SonicSpy sp

Google Detects Dangerous Spyware Apps On Android Play Store

Google Detects Dangerous Spyware Apps On Android Play Store
July 27, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Security researchers at Google have discovered a new family of deceptive Android spyware that can steal a whole lot of information on users, including text messages, emails, voice calls, photos, location data, and other files, and spy on them. Dubbed Lipizzan , the Android spyware appears to be developed by Equus Technologies, an Israeli startup that Google referred to as a 'cyber arms' seller in a blog post published Wednesday. With the help of Google Play Protect , the Android security team has found Lipizzan spyware on at least 20 apps in Play Store, which infected fewer than 100 Android smartphones in total. Google has quickly blocked and removed all of those Lipizzan apps and the developers from its Android ecosystem, and Google Play Protect has notified all affected victims. For those unaware, Google Play Protect is part of the Google Play Store app and uses machine learning and app usage analysis to weed out the dangerous and malicious apps. Lipizzan: Soph

Beware! Over 800 Android Apps on Google Play Store Contain 'Xavier' Malware

Beware! Over 800 Android Apps on Google Play Store Contain 'Xavier' Malware
June 13, 2017Mohit Kumar
Over 800 different Android apps that have been downloaded millions of times from Google Play Store found to be infected with malicious ad library that silently collects sensitive user data and can perform dangerous operations. Dubbed " Xavier ," the malicious ad library, initially emerged in September 2016, is a member of AdDown malware family, potentially posing a severe threat to millions of Android users. Since 90 percent of Android apps are free for anyone to download, advertising on them is a key revenue source for their developers. For this, they integrate Android SDK Ads Library in their apps, which usually doesn't affect an app's core functionality. According to security researchers at Trend Micro , the malicious ad library comes pre-installed on a wide range of Android applications, including photo editors, wallpapers and ringtone changers, Phone tracking, Volume Booster, Ram Optimizer and music-video player. Features of Xavier Info-Stealing Malware

First Android-Rooting Trojan With Code Injection Ability Found On Google Play Store

First Android-Rooting Trojan With Code Injection Ability Found On Google Play Store
June 08, 2017Mohit Kumar
A new Android-rooting malware with an ability to disable device' security settings in an effort to perform malicious tasks in the background has been detected on the official Play Store. What's interesting? The app was smart enough to fool Google security mechanism by first pretending itself to be a clean app and then temporarily replacing it with a malicious version. Security researchers at Kaspersky Lab discovered a new piece of Android rooting malware that was being distributed as gaming apps on the Google Play Store, hiding behind puzzle game " colourblock ," which was being downloaded at least 50,000 times prior to its removal. Dubbed Dvmap , the Android rooting malware disables device's security settings to install another malicious app from a third-party source and also injects malicious code into the device system runtime libraries to gain root access and stay persistent. "To bypass Google Play Store security checks, the malware creators used

Judy Android Malware Infects Over 36.5 Million Google Play Store Users

Judy Android Malware Infects Over 36.5 Million Google Play Store Users
May 29, 2017Mohit Kumar
Security researchers have claimed to have discovered possibly the largest malware campaign on Google Play Store that has already infected around 36.5 million Android devices with malicious ad-click software. The security firm Checkpoint on Thursday published a blog post revealing more than 41 Android applications from a Korean company on Google Play Store that make money for its creators by creating fake advertisement clicks from the infected devices. All the malicious apps, developed by Korea-based Kiniwini and published under the moniker ENISTUDIO Corp, contained an adware program, dubbed Judy, that is being used to generate fraudulent clicks to generate revenue from advertisements. Moreover, the researchers also uncovered a few more apps, published by other developers on Play Store, inexplicably containing the same the malware in them. The connection between the two campaigns remains unclear, though researchers believe it is possible that one developer borrowed code from

Google Adds New Behavior-Based Malware Scanner To Every Android Device

Google Adds New Behavior-Based Malware Scanner To Every Android Device
May 20, 2017Mohit Kumar
In order to keep its billions of users safe, Google has introduced another security defense for its Android devices, called Google Play Protect . Google Play Protect , which is part of the Google Play Store app, uses machine learning and app usage analysis to weed out the dangerous and malicious apps, which have always been albatross around the tech giant's neck. Since Google Play Protect actually comes with the Google Play Store, users do not need to install or activate this security feature separately. Google Play Protect for Android devices consists: App scanning Anti-Theft Measures Browser Protection Play Protect's App Scanning Feature Google Play Protect is an always-on service on devices which said to scan 50 billion apps each day across a billion Android devices to ensure they are safe. Google already has a number of security measures in place to help keep your smartphones safe, including Verify Apps and its Bouncer service, but once apps are uploa

Beware! New Android Malware Infected 2 Million Google Play Store Users

Beware! New Android Malware Infected 2 Million Google Play Store Users
April 26, 2017Mohit Kumar
Initially thought to be 600,000 users, the number of Android users who have mistakenly downloaded and installed malware on their devices straight from Google Play Store has reached 2 Million. Yes, about 2 Million Android users have fallen victim to malware hidden in over 40 fake companion guide apps for popular mobile games, such as Pokémon Go and FIFA Mobile, on the official Google Play Store, according to security researchers from Check Point. Dubbed FalseGuide by the Check Point researchers, the malware creates a " silent botnet out of the infected devices " to deliver fraudulent mobile adware and generate ad revenue for cybercriminals. Nearly 2 Million Android Users Infected! While initially it was believed that the oldest instance of FalseGuide was uploaded to the Google Play in February and made its way onto over 600,000 devices within two months, further in-depth analysis by researchers revealed more infected apps which date back to November 2016. "

Android Trojan Targeting Over 420 Banking Apps Worldwide Found On Google Play Store

Android Trojan Targeting Over 420 Banking Apps Worldwide Found On Google Play Store
April 13, 2017Wang Wei
Do you like watching funny videos online? I am not kind of a funny person, but I love watching funny videos clips online, and this is one of the best things that people can do in their spare time. But, beware if you have installed a funny video app from Google Play Store. A security researcher has discovered a new variant of the infamous Android banking Trojan hiding in apps under different names, such as Funny Videos 2017 , on Google Play Store. Niels Croese, the security researcher at Securify B.V firm, analyzed the Funny Videos app that has 1,000 to 5,000 installs and found that the app acts like any of the regular video applications on Play Store, but in the background, it targets victims from banks around the world. This newly discovered banking Trojan works like any other banking malware, but two things that makes it different from others are — its capability to target victims and use of DexProtector tool to obfuscate the app's code. Dubbed BankBot , the banking

Nasty Android Malware that Infected Millions Returns to Google Play Store

Nasty Android Malware that Infected Millions Returns to Google Play Store
January 24, 2017Swati Khandelwal
HummingBad – an Android-based malware that infected over 10 million Android devices around the world last year and made its gang an estimated US$300,000 per month at its peak – has made a comeback. Security researchers have discovered a new variant of the HummingBad malware hiding in more than 20 Android apps on Google Play Store. The infected apps were already downloaded by over 12 Million unsuspecting users before the Google Security team removed them from the Play Store. Dubbed HummingWhale by researchers at security firm Check Point, the new malware utilizes new, cutting-edge techniques that allow the nasty software to conduct Ad fraud better than ever before and generate revenue for its developers. The Check Point researchers said the HummingWhale-infected apps had been published under the name of fake Chinese developers on the Play Store with common name structure, com.[name].camera, but with suspicious startup behaviors. "It registered several events on boot,

In-Brief: Spotify Hack, Secret of Chrome OS, MIT Bug Bounty, Nanowire Batteries

In-Brief: Spotify Hack, Secret of Chrome OS, MIT Bug Bounty, Nanowire Batteries
April 26, 2016Mohit Kumar
1. Spotify Hacked! Change your Password ASAP If you are one of the millions of people around the world who love to listen to music on Spotify, you may need to change your password immediately. Has Spotify been hacked? The company says no, but some Spotify users have claimed their profiles were hijacked, and details were changed without knowledge, including passwords and email addresses, TC  reported . Spotify apparently suffered a security breach that leaked hundreds of Spotify accounts details, including emails, usernames, passwords and account type, which was published last week to the popular anonymous file sharing website Pastebin. Spotify is investigating the Pastebin leaks of Spotify user information. 2. Over 1 Million Android Apps Are Coming to Chrome OS Google is ready to integrate millions of Android applications onto its Chrome OS platform by bringing the entire Play Store to it. Redditor 'TheWiseYoda' first spotted a new option to "Enable And

Remotely Exploitable Bug in Truecaller Puts Over 100 Million Users at Risk

Remotely Exploitable Bug in Truecaller Puts Over 100 Million Users at Risk
March 29, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Security researchers have discovered a remotely exploitable vulnerability in Called ID app " Truecaller " that could expose personal details of Millions of its users. Truecaller is a popular service that claims to "search and identify any phone number," as well as helps users block incoming calls or SMSes from phone numbers categorized as spammers and telemarketers. The service has mobile apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Symbian devices and BlackBerry phones. The vulnerability, discovered by Cheetah Mobile Security Research Lab , affects Truecaller Android version of the app that has been downloaded more than 100 Million times. The actual problem resides in the way Truecaller identify users in its systems. While installation, Truecaller Android app asks users to enter their phone number, email address, and other personal details, which is verified by phone call or SMS message. After this, whenever users open the app, no login screen is ever

How To Keep Your Android Phone Secure

How To Keep Your Android Phone Secure
February 26, 2016Swati Khandelwal
As the number of threats is on the rise, Android platform is no longer safe, which isn't a surprise to anyone. Most of us are usually worried more about the security of our desktops or laptops and forget to think about the consequences our smartphones can make if compromised or stolen. Unlike desktops, your smartphones and tablets carry all sorts of information from your personal photographs, important emails, messages to your sensitive financial details. And due to rise in mobile usage, the hackers have shifted their interest from desktops to the mobile platform. Nowadays, nearly all possible threats that were previously attacking desktop platform are now targeting smartphone users. Ransomware , Phishing, Spams, Spyware, Botnets, Banking Malware , OS and Software vulnerabilities, just to name a few examples, but users don't understand the potential threat when it comes to mobile devices. Additionally, your smartphones and tablets are also subjectable mo

Apple Could Offer iMessage App for Android

Apple Could Offer iMessage App for Android
February 09, 2016Mohit Kumar
Although Apple has its own operating system for both desktop (Mac OS X) and iPhone (iOS), the company has always tried to port its in-house applications to other OS platforms. Apple debuted on its rival mobile OS platform last year with the launch of Apple Music on Android. However, iTunes and Safari has already been made available for both Windows as well as Mac. Now, the company will soon move more of its mobile applications to Android if comments made by Chief Executive Tim Cook at the recent company-wide event for Apple employees are to be believed. iMessage App for Android Platform Cook reportedly told his staff that sooner Apple may bring other apps and exclusive services to the Android Systems, and added that bringing Apple Music to Android in November was "a way of testing the waters for growing its services division through other platforms," reports 9to5Mac. So, you could see iMessage , the company's encrypted messaging application, ex

Google Play Store increases Android APK Size Limit from 50MB to 100MB

Google Play Store increases Android APK Size Limit from 50MB to 100MB
September 30, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Google is doubling the maximum APK file size on the Play Store from 50 MB to 100 MB . That means... Android app developers can now build higher quality Apps and Games that users love. Of course, for an end user it may affect the overall app performance and installation time, as well as mobile data connectivity. Google Wants Developers to Create Richer Apps By increasing file size limit from 50 MB to 100 MB, Google wants to encourage developers for creating richer apps and games , as well as help avoid the need for downloading additional files after the initial APK download. There are two primary purposes of setting a cap for APKs. The limit ensures: Developers write code efficiently and keep an eye on the overall size of their app Users don't have to wait too long to download an app or game from the Play Store However,  Expansion Files are still there to help developers build apps that exceed the 100MB barrier , but the aim to increase the base lim
Online Courses and Software

Sign up for cybersecurity newsletter and get latest news updates delivered straight to your inbox daily.