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Mysterious malware that re-installs itself infected over 45,000 Android Phones

Mysterious malware that re-installs itself infected over 45,000 Android Phones
October 29, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Over the past few months, hundreds of Android users have been complaining online of a new piece of mysterious malware that hides on the infected devices and can reportedly reinstall itself even after users delete it, or factory reset their devices. Dubbed Xhelper , the malware has already infected more than 45,000 Android devices in just the last six months and is continuing to spread by infecting at least 2,400 devices on an average each month, according to the latest report published today by Symantec. Here below, I have collected excerpts from some comments that affected users shared on the online forums while asking for how to remove the Xhelper Android malware: "xhelper regularly reinstalls itself, almost every day!" "the 'install apps from unknown sources' setting turns itself on." "I rebooted my phone and also wiped my phone yet the app xhelper came back." "Xhelper came pre-installed on the phone from China."

42 Adware Apps with 8 Million Downloads Traced Back to Vietnamese Student

42 Adware Apps with 8 Million Downloads Traced Back to Vietnamese Student
October 24, 2019Mohit Kumar
First of all, if you have any of the below-listed apps installed on your Android device, you are advised to uninstall it immediately. Cybersecurity researchers have identified 42 apps on the Google Play Store with a total of more than 8 million downloads, which were initially distributed as legitimate applications but later updated to maliciously display full-screen advertisements to their users. Discovered by ESET security researcher Lukas Stefanko, these adware Android applications were developed by a Vietnamese university student, who easily got tracked likely because he never bothered to hide his identity. The publicly available registration details of a domain associated with the adware apps helped find the identity of the rogue developer, including his real name, address, and phone number, which eventually led the researcher to his personal accounts on Facebook, GitHub, and YouTube. "Seeing that the developer did not take any measures to protect his identity, it

'Exodus' Surveillance Malware Found Targeting Apple iOS Users

'Exodus' Surveillance Malware Found Targeting Apple iOS Users
April 09, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered an iOS version of the powerful mobile phone surveillance app that was initially targeting Android devices through apps on the official Google Play Store. Dubbed Exodus , as the malware is called, the iOS version of the spyware was discovered by security researchers at LookOut during their analysis of its Android samples they had found last year. Unlike its Android variant, the iOS version of Exodus has been distributed outside of the official App Store, primarily through phishing websites that imitate Italian and Turkmenistani mobile carriers. Since Apple restricts direct installation of apps outside of its official app store, the iOS version of Exodus is abusing the Apple Developer Enterprise program, which allows enterprises to distribute their own in-house apps directly to their employees without needing to use the iOS App Store. "Each of the phishing sites contained links to a distribution manifest, which contained metadata

Google Removes 85 Adware Apps That Infect 9 Million Android Users

Google Removes 85 Adware Apps That Infect 9 Million Android Users
January 09, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Google has removed 85 apps from its Play Store after finding out that they were pushing aggressive, full-screen adware to Android users. With the rise in the mobile market, Adware has become one of the most prevalent mobile threats in the world. Adware has traditionally been used to aggressively push ads like banners or pop-ups on mobile screens to make money for its makers. The now-removed 85 apps in question disguised as games, streaming TV, and remote control simulator apps in the Google Play store and had collectively been installed by nine million users all over the world. Researchers from cyber security company Trend Micro spotted these apps which has the ability to bombard user devices with full-screen advertisements at regular intervals or when users unlock their device by monitoring their screen unlocking functionality. The apps can display ads even when you are not browsing the internet, hide themselves and run in the background on infected devices. The most popul

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

Scammers Are Using Fake Apple In-App Subscriptions to Make Lot of Money

Scammers Are Using Fake Apple In-App Subscriptions to Make Lot of Money
June 13, 2017Swati Khandelwal
In this year's annual event, Apple announced that the company had paid out $70 Billion to developers in the App Store's lifetime and that $21 Billion of the amount was paid in the last year alone. But has all this money gone to the legitimate app developers? Probably not, as app developer Johnny Lin last week analyzed the Apple's App Store and discovered that most of the trending apps on the app store are completely fake and are earning their makers hundreds of thousands of dollars through in-app purchases and subscriptions. Scammers Use 'Search Ads' Platform to Boost App Ranking Shady developers are abusing Apple's relatively new and immature App Store Search Ads, which was launched at last year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), to promote their app in the store by using a few strategically chosen search ads and a bit of SEO. "They're taking advantage of the fact that there's no filtering or approval process for ads, and

Dozens of Malicious Apps on Play Store can Root & Hack 90% of Android Devices

Dozens of Malicious Apps on Play Store can Root & Hack 90% of Android Devices
June 25, 2016Swati Khandelwal
It's not at all surprising that the Google Play Store is surrounded by a large number of malicious apps that has the ability to gain users' attention into falling victim for one, but this time, it is even worse than most people realize. Researchers at Trend Micro have detected a family of malicious apps, dubbed ' Godless ,' that has the capability of secretly rooting almost 90 percent of all Android phones. Well, that's slightly terrifying. The malicious apps are distributed via different methods and variety of app stores, including Google Play Store, which is usually considered as a safe option for downloading apps. Also Read:   Crazy hacker implants NFC Chip in his hand to hack Android phones . The malicious apps packed with Godless contain a collection of open-source or leaked Android rooting exploits that works on any device running Android 5.1 Lollipop or earlier. 90% Android Devices are Vulnerable to Godless Rooting Malware Since Android eco

Warning! Popular Apple Store Apps Infected with Data-Theft Malware

Warning! Popular Apple Store Apps Infected with Data-Theft Malware
September 21, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Unlike Google Play Store, Apple App Store is well known for not allowing any malformed apps to enter its Apple ecosystem because of its tight security checks. But, not anymore. Hundreds of malicious apps managed to get hosted on Apple's official App store and subsequently downloaded by  several hundred Million iPad and iPhone owners . Out of them, Palo Alto Networks published a list of 39 malicious yet legitimate apps that made ways to the App Store.  First Major Malware Attack on Apple's App Store Yes, Apple App Store is targeted by a malware attack in which some versions of software used by software developers to build their apps for iOS and OS X were infected with malware, named XcodeGhost . XcodeGhost secretly sniffs off data from customer's device and uploads it to the attacker's servers without the user's knowledge, according to security firm Palo Alto Networks. Apps were infected after developers used a malicious version of the X

Beware! Fake WhatsApp PLUS App Rumored to be Next Official WhatsApp Release

Beware! Fake WhatsApp PLUS App Rumored to be Next Official WhatsApp Release
January 19, 2015Mohit Kumar
Several reports from the popular news websites had suggested that WhatsApp , the widely popular messaging application, is working on a new version of its instant messaging client, called  WhatsApp PLUS , in order to provide its users a lot of handy new features. However the news seems to be completely fake!! WhatsApp Plus has already been launched a long ago and is not at all genuine as it is not associated with the Facebook-owned WhatsApp. Many users claimed to have already used WhatsApp Plus before. The latest news reports insist that WhatsApp Plus will bring 700 new themes and more number of emoticons, as well as will provide users with an option to change the font, and color among other things in an attempt to make the app look and feel more personalized. Moreover, the app will provide better privacy compared to the existing one. But, here you need to have a second thought. If we talk about better privacy, the only genuine report about WhatsApp came late last year,

FBI Arrested CEO of 'StealthGenie' for Selling Mobile Spyware Apps

FBI Arrested CEO of 'StealthGenie' for Selling Mobile Spyware Apps
October 01, 2014Wang Wei
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrested the CEO of a UK-based company for allegedly advertising and selling a spyware app to individuals who suspect their romantic partners of cheating on them. The dodgy cell phone spyware application, dubbed as StealthGenie , monitors victims' phone calls, text messages, videos, emails and other communications "without detection" when it is installed on a target's phone, according to the Department of Justice. The chief executive officer of a mobile spyware maker is a Pakistani man collared 31-year-old Hammad Akbar , of Lahore, who was arrested over the weekend in Los Angeles for flogging StealthGenie spyware application and now faces a number of federal charges. According to the US Department of Justice, Akbar operates a company called InvoCode, which sold the StealthGenie spyware app online that can intercept communications to and from mobile phones including Apple, Google, and BlackBerry devices. T
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