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These 28+ Android Apps with 10 Million Downloads from the Play Store Contain Malware

These 28+ Android Apps with 10 Million Downloads from the Play Store Contain Malware
July 27, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
As many as 30 malicious Android apps with cumulative downloads of nearly 10 million have been found on the Google Play Store distributing adware. "All of them were built into various programs, including image-editing software, virtual keyboards, system tools and utilities, calling apps, wallpaper collection apps, and others," Dr.Web  said  in a Tuesday write-up. While masquerading as innocuous apps, their primary goal is to request permissions to show windows over other apps and run in the background in order to serve intrusive ads. To make it difficult for the victims to detect and uninstall the apps, the adware trojans hide their icons from the list of installed apps in the home screen or replace the icons with others that are likely to be less noticed (e.g., SIM Toolkit). Some of these apps also offer the advertised features, as observed in the case of two apps: "Water Reminder- Tracker & Reminder" and "Yoga- For Beginner to Advanced." However

Experts Uncover 350 Browser Extension Variants Used in ABCsoup Adware Campaign

Experts Uncover 350 Browser Extension Variants Used in ABCsoup Adware Campaign
July 08, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A malicious browser extension with 350 variants is masquerading as a Google Translate add-on as part of an adware campaign targeting Russian users of Google Chrome, Opera, and Mozilla Firefox browsers. Mobile security firm Zimperium dubbed the malware family  ABCsoup , stating the "extensions are installed onto a victim's machine via a Windows-based executable, bypassing most endpoint security solutions, along with the security controls found in the official extension stores." The rogue browser add-ons come with the same extension ID as that of Google Translate — " aapbdbdomjkkjkaonfhkkikfgjllcleb " — in an attempt to trick users into believing that they have installed a legitimate extension. The extensions are not available on the official browser web stores themselves. Rather they are delivered through different Windows executables that install the add-on on the victim's web browser. In the event the targeted user already has the Google Translate ext

New Variant of UpdateAgent Malware Infects Mac Computers with Adware

New Variant of UpdateAgent Malware Infects Mac Computers with Adware
February 03, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Wednesday shed light on a previously undocumented Mac trojan that it said has undergone several iterations since its first appearance in September 2020, effectively granting it an "increasing progression of sophisticated capabilities." The company's Microsoft 365 Defender Threat Intelligence Team dubbed the new malware family " UpdateAgent ," charting its evolution from a barebones information stealer to a second-stage payload distributor as part of multiple attack waves observed in 2021. "The latest campaign saw the malware installing the evasive and persistent Adload adware, but UpdateAgent's ability to gain access to a device can theoretically be further leveraged to fetch other, potentially more dangerous payloads," the researchers  said . The actively in-development malware is said to be propagated via drive-by downloads or advertisement pop-ups that masquerade as legitimate software like video applications and support agents

New AdLoad Variant Bypasses Apple's Security Defenses to Target macOS Systems

New AdLoad Variant Bypasses Apple's Security Defenses to Target macOS Systems
August 16, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A new wave of attacks involving a notorious macOS adware family has evolved to leverage around 150 unique samples in the wild in 2021 alone, some of which have slipped past Apple's on-device malware scanner and even signed by its own notarization service, highlighting the malicious software ongoing attempts to adapt and evade detection. "AdLoad," as the malware is known, is one of several widespread adware and bundleware loaders targeting macOS since at least 2017. It's capable of backdooring an affected system to download and install adware or potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), as well as amass and transmit information about victim machines. The new iteration "continues to impact Mac users who rely solely on Apple's built-in security control XProtect for malware detection," SentinelOne threat researcher Phil Stokes  said  in an analysis published last week. "As of today, however, XProtect arguably has around 11 different signatures for AdLoa

SoReL-20M: A Huge Dataset of 20 Million Malware Samples Released Online

SoReL-20M: A Huge Dataset of 20 Million Malware Samples Released Online
December 14, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity firms Sophos and ReversingLabs on Monday jointly released the first-ever production-scale malware research dataset to be made available to the general public that aims to build effective defenses and drive industry-wide improvements in security detection and response. " SoReL-20M " (short for  So phos- Re versing L abs –  20   M illion), as it's called, is a dataset containing metadata, labels, and features for 20 million Windows Portable Executable (.PE) files, including 10 million disarmed malware samples, with the goal of devising machine-learning approaches for better malware detection capabilities. "Open knowledge and understanding about cyber threats also leads to more predictive cybersecurity," Sophos AI group said. "Defenders will be able to anticipate what attackers are doing and be better prepared for their next move." Accompanying the release are a set of  PyTorch  and  LightGBM -based machine learning  models pre-trained

Watch Out! Adrozek Malware Hijacking Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Yandex Browsers

Watch Out! Adrozek Malware Hijacking Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Yandex Browsers
December 11, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Thursday took the wraps off an ongoing campaign impacting popular web browsers that stealthily injects malware-infested ads into search results to earn money via affiliate advertising. "Adrozek," as it's called by the Microsoft 365 Defender Research Team, employs an "expansive, dynamic attacker infrastructure" consisting of 159 unique domains, each of which hosts an average of 17,300 unique URLs, which in turn host more than 15,300 unique malware samples. The campaign — which impacts Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Yandex Browser, and Mozilla Firefox browsers on Windows — aims to insert additional, unauthorized ads on top of legitimate ads displayed on search engine results pages, leading users to click on these ads inadvertently. Microsoft said the persistent browser modifier malware has been observed since May this year, with over 30,000 devices affected every day at its peak in August. "Cybercriminals abusing affiliate programs is not

Stantinko Botnet Now Targeting Linux Servers to Hide Behind Proxies

Stantinko Botnet Now Targeting Linux Servers to Hide Behind Proxies
November 24, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
An adware and coin-miner botnet targeting Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan at least since 2012 has now set its sights on Linux servers to fly under the radar. According to a new analysis published by Intezer today and shared with The Hacker News, the trojan masquerades as  HTTPd , a commonly used program on Linux servers, and is a new version of the malware belonging to a threat actor tracked as  Stantinko . Back in 2017, ESET researchers detailed a  massive adware botnet  that works by tricking users looking for pirated software into downloading malicious executables disguised as torrents to install rogue browser extensions that perform ad injection and click fraud. The covert campaign, which controls a vast army of half a million bots, has since received a substantial upgrade in the form of a  crypto-mining module  with an aim to profit from computers under their control. Although Stantinko has been traditionally a Windows malware, the expansion in their toolset to tar

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

Google Bans 600 Android Apps from Play Store for Serving Disruptive Ads
February 21, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
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

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

New Malware Replaced Legit Android Apps With Fake Ones On 25 Million Devices

New Malware Replaced Legit Android Apps With Fake Ones On 25 Million Devices
July 11, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Are you sure the WhatsApp app you are using on your Android device is legitimate, even if it's working perfectly as intended? ...Or the JioTV, AppLock, HotStar, Flipkart, Opera Mini or Truecaller app—if you have installed any of these? I'm asking this because cybersecurity researchers just yesterday revealed eye-opening details about a widespread Android malware campaign wherein attackers silently replaced installed legitimate apps with their malicious versions on nearly 25 million mobile phones. Now the important question here is how they're doing it and why? According to researchers at Check Point, attackers are distributing a new kind of Android malware that disguises itself as innocent-looking photo editing, adult entertainment, or gaming apps and available through widely used third-party app stores. Dubbed Agent Smith , the malware takes advantage of multiple Android vulnerabilities, such as the  Janus flaw and the Man-in-the-Disk flaw , and injects malic

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

No.1 Adware Removal Tool On Apple App Store Caught Spying On Mac Users

No.1 Adware Removal Tool On Apple App Store Caught Spying On Mac Users
September 08, 2018Swati Khandelwal
A highly popular top-tier app in Apple's Mac App Store that's designed to protect its users from adware and malware threats has been, ironically, found surreptitiously stealing their browsing history without their consent, and sending it to a server in China. What's more concerning? Even after Apple was warned a month ago, the company did not take any action against the app. The app in question is "Adware Doctor," the Mac App Store No. 1 paid utility and also ranked as the fourth most popular paid app on the store, which sells for $4.99 and markets itself to be the "best app" to prevent "malware and malicious files from infecting your Mac." However, a security researcher with the @privacyis1st Twitter handle detected Adware Doctor's suspicious spyware-like behavior almost a month ago and also uploaded a proof-of-concept video demonstration of how the user's browser history is exfiltrated. The researcher informed Apple about

Python-Based Adware Evolves to Install Malicious Browser Extensions

Python-Based Adware Evolves to Install Malicious Browser Extensions
June 26, 2018Wang Wei
Security researchers have been warning of a few newly detected variants of python -based adware that are being distributed in the wild not only to inject ads but also found installing malicious browser extensions and hidden cryptocurrency miner into victims' computers. Dubbed PBot , or PythonBot , the adware was first uncovered more than a year ago, but since then the malware has evolved, as its authors have been trying different money-making schemes to profit themselves, according to researchers at Kaspersky Labs. The previous versions of the PBot malware were designed to perform man-in-the-browser (MITB) attacks to inject unwanted advertising scripts on web pages visited by the victim, but the newer variants have been found installing malicious ad extensions in the web browser. "Developers are constantly releasing new versions of this modification, each of which complicates the script obfuscation," Kaspersky researchers said in their blog post published today.

Pre-Installed Malware Found On 5 Million Popular Android Phones

Pre-Installed Malware Found On 5 Million Popular Android Phones
March 15, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Security researchers have discovered a massive continuously growing malware campaign that has already infected nearly 5 million mobile devices worldwide. Dubbed RottenSys , the malware that disguised as a 'System Wi-Fi service' app came pre-installed on millions of brand new smartphones manufactured by Honor, Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, Samsung and GIONEE—added somewhere along the supply chain. All these affected devices were shipped through Tian Pai, a Hangzhou-based mobile phone distributor, but researchers are not sure if the company has direct involvement in this campaign. According to Check Point Mobile Security Team, who uncovered this campaign, RottenSys is an advanced piece of malware that doesn't provide any secure Wi-Fi related service but takes almost all sensitive Android permissions to enable its malicious activities. "According to our findings, the RottenSys malware began propagating in September 2016. By March 12, 2018, 4,964,460 devices were

Beware of Windows/MacOS/Linux Virus Spreading Through Facebook Messenger

Beware of Windows/MacOS/Linux Virus Spreading Through Facebook Messenger
August 24, 2017Unknown
If you came across any Facebook message with a video link sent by anyone, even your friend — just don't click on it. Security researchers at Kaspersky Lab have spotted an ongoing cross-platform campaign on Facebook Messenger, where users receive a video link that redirects them to a fake website, luring them to install malicious software. Although it is still unclear how the malware spreads, researchers believe spammers are using compromised accounts, hijacked browsers, or clickjacking techniques to spread the malicious link. The attackers make use of social engineering to trick users into clicking the video link, which purports to be from one of their Facebook friends, with the message that reads "< your friend name > Video" followed by a bit.ly link, as shown. Here's How this Cross-Platform Malware Works: The URL redirects victims to a Google doc that displays a dynamically generated video thumbnail, like a playable movie, based on the sender'

Over 500 Android Apps On Google Play Store Found Spying On 100 Million Users

Over 500 Android Apps On Google Play Store Found Spying On 100 Million Users
August 23, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Over 500 different Android apps that have been downloaded more than 100 million times from the official Google Play Store found to be infected with a malicious ad library that secretly distributes spyware to users and can perform dangerous operations. Since 90 per cent of Android apps is free to download from Google Play Store, advertising is a key revenue source for app developers. For this, they integrate Android SDK Ads library in their apps, which usually does not affect an app's core functionality. But security researchers at mobile security firm Lookout have discovered a software development kit (SDK), dubbed Igexin, that has been found delivering spyware on Android devices. Developed by a Chinese company to offer targeted advertising services to app developers, the rogue 'Igexin' advertising software was spotted in more than 500 apps on Google's official marketplace, most of which included: Games targeted at teens with as many as 100 million download

Hackers Hijacked Chrome Extension for Web Developers With Over 1 Million Users

Hackers Hijacked Chrome Extension for Web Developers With Over 1 Million Users
August 03, 2017Swati Khandelwal
From past few years, spammers and cyber criminals were buying web extensions from their developers and then updating them without informing their users to inject bulk advertisements into every website user visits in order to generate large revenue. But now they have shifted their business model—instead of investing, spammers have started a new wave of phishing attacks aimed at hijacking popular browser extensions. Just two days ago, we reported how cyber criminals managed to compromise the Chrome Web Store account of a German developer team and hijacked Copyfish extension , and then modified it with ad-injection capabilities to distribute spam correspondence to users. Now just yesterday, another popular Chrome extension ' Web Developer ' was hijacked by some unknown attackers, who updated the software to directly inject advertisements into the web browser of over its 1 million users. Chris Pederick , the creator of Web Developer Chrome extension that offers various w

Someone Hijacks A Popular Chrome Extension to Push Malware

Someone Hijacks A Popular Chrome Extension to Push Malware
July 31, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Phishers have recently hacked an extension for Google Chrome after compromising the Chrome Web Store account of German developer team a9t9 software and abused to distribute spam messages to unsuspecting users. Dubbed Copyfish, the extension allows users to extract text from images, PDF documents and video, and has more than 37,500 users. Unfortunately, the Chrome extension of Copyfish has been hijacked and compromised by some unknown attacker, who equipped the extension with advertisement injection capabilities. However, its Firefox counterpart was not affected by the attack. The attackers even moved the extension to their developer account, preventing its developers from removing the infected extension from the store, even after being spotted that the extension has been compromised. "So far, the update looks like standard adware hack, but, as we still have no control over Copyfish, the thieves might update the extension another time… until we get it back," the de

Gang Behind Fireball Malware that Infected 250 Million PCs Busted by Police

Gang Behind Fireball Malware that Infected 250 Million PCs Busted by Police
July 26, 2017Mohit Kumar
Chinese authorities have recently initiated a crackdown on the operators of a massive adware campaign that infected around 250 Million computers , including Windows and Mac OS, across the world earlier this year. The adware campaign was uncovered by security researchers at Check Point last month after it already infected over 25 million computers in India, 24 million in Brazil, 16 million in Mexico, 13 million in Indonesia and 5.5 million in the United States. Dubbed Fireball , the infamous adware comes bundled with other free legitimate software that you download off the Internet. Once installed, the malware installs browser plug-ins to manipulate the victim's web browser configurations and replace their default search engines and home pages with fake search engines. Far from legitimate purposes, Fireball has the ability to spy on victim's web traffic, execute malicious code on the infected computers, install plugins, and even perform efficient malware dropping, cr
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