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Facebook Sues Two Android App Developers for Click Injection Fraud

Facebook Sues Two Android App Developers for Click Injection Fraud

August 08, 2019Mohit Kumar
Facebook has filed a lawsuit against two shady Android app developers accused of making illegal money by hijacking users' smartphones to fraudulently click on Facebook ads. According to Facebook, Hong Kong-based 'LionMobi' and Singapore-based 'JediMobi' app developers were distributing malicious Android apps via the official Google Play Store that exploit a technique known as "click injection fraud." Click injection is a type of attribution fraud where fraudsters manipulate the attributions to steal the credit from the actual source of app installation in an advertising process that involves Cost Per Installation model. In simple words, a malicious app installed on a device automatically generates a fake click to the advertisement network with its own tracking codes when it finds that the user is installing a new app from any other source to claim itself as the source of the installation. Therefore, Advertisers end up paying commission to the wro
New Attack Lets Android Apps Capture Loudspeaker Data Without Any Permission

New Attack Lets Android Apps Capture Loudspeaker Data Without Any Permission

July 17, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Earlier this month, The Hacker News covered a story on research revealing how over 1300 Android apps are collecting sensitive data even when users have explicitly denied the required permissions. The research was primarily focused on how app developers abuse multiple ways around to collect location data, phone identifiers, and MAC addresses of their users by exploiting both covert and side channels. Now, a separate team of cybersecurity researchers has successfully demonstrated a new side-channel attack that could allow malicious apps to eavesdrop on the voice coming out of your smartphone's loudspeakers without requiring any device permission. Abusing Android Accelerometer to Capture Loudspeaker Data Dubbed Spearphone , the newly demonstrated attack takes advantage of a hardware-based motion sensor, called an accelerometer, which comes built into most Android devices and can be unrestrictedly accessed by any app installed on a device even with zero permissions. An
Important Flaw in Outlook App for Android Affects Over 100 Millions Users

Important Flaw in Outlook App for Android Affects Over 100 Millions Users

June 20, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Update (22 June 2019)  — More technical details and proof-of-concept for the OutLook for Android vulnerability has been released that we have covered in a separate article here. Microsoft today released an updated version of its "Outlook for Android" that patches an important security vulnerability in the popular email app that is currently being used over 100 million users. According to an advisory , Outlook app with versions before 3.0.88 for Android contains a stored cross-site scripting vulnerability ( CVE-2019-1105 ) in the way the app parses incoming email messages. If exploited, remote attackers can execute malicious in-app client-side code on the targeted devices just by sending them emails with a specially crafted message. "The attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could then perform cross-site scripting attacks on the affected systems and run scripts in the security context of the current user." According to Microsoft, the fl
Google Makes it Tough for Rogue App Developers Get Back on Android Play Store

Google Makes it Tough for Rogue App Developers Get Back on Android Play Store

April 16, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Even after Google's security oversight over its already-huge Android ecosystem has evolved over the years, malware apps still keep coming back to Google Play Store. Sometimes just reposting an already detected malware app from a newly created Play Store account, or using other developers' existing accounts, is enough for 'bad-faith' developers to trick the Play Store into distributing unsafe apps to Android users. Since the mobile device platform is growing rapidly, every new effort Google makes apparently comes with trade-offs. For example, Google recently made some changes in its Play Store policies and added new restriction in Android APIs that now makes it mandatory for every new app to undergo rigorous security testing and review process before appearing in the Google Play Store. These efforts also include: restricting developers from abusing Android accessibility services, restricting apps access to certain permissions like call logs and SMS permi
Hackers Could Turn Pre-Installed Antivirus App on Xiaomi Phones Into Malware

Hackers Could Turn Pre-Installed Antivirus App on Xiaomi Phones Into Malware

April 04, 2019Swati Khandelwal
What could be worse than this, if the software that's meant to protect your devices leave backdoors open for hackers or turn into malware? Researchers today revealed that a security app that comes pre-installed on more than 150 million devices manufactured by Xiaomi, China's biggest and world's 4th largest smartphone company, was suffering from multiple issues that could have allowed remote hackers to compromise Xiaomi smartphones. According to CheckPoint, the reported issues resided in one of the pre-installed application called, Guard Provider , a security app developed by Xiaomi that includes three different antivirus programs packed inside it, allowing users to choose between Avast, AVL, and Tencent. Since Guard Provider has been designed to offer multiple 3rd-party programs within a single app, it uses several Software Development Kits (SDKs), which according to researchers is not a great idea because data of one SDK cannot be isolated and any issue in one of
Several Popular Beauty Camera Apps Caught Stealing Users' Photos

Several Popular Beauty Camera Apps Caught Stealing Users' Photos

February 04, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Just because an app is available on Google Play Store doesn't mean that it is a legitimate app. Despite so many efforts by Google, some fake and malicious apps do sneak in and land millions of unaware users on the hunting ground of scammers and hackers. Cybersecurity firm Trend Micro uncovered at least 29 devious photo apps that managed to make its way onto Google Play Store and have been downloaded more than 4 million times before Google removed them from its app store. The mobile apps in question disguised as photo editing and beauty apps purporting to use your mobile phone's camera to take better pictures or beautify the snaps you shoot, but were found including code that performs malicious activities on their users' smartphone. Three of the rogue apps—Pro Camera Beauty, Cartoon Art Photo and Emoji Camera—have been downloaded more than a million times each, with Artistic Effect Filter being installed over 500,000 times and another seven apps in the list over 100
A Twitter Bug Left Android Users' Private Tweets Exposed For 4 Years

A Twitter Bug Left Android Users' Private Tweets Exposed For 4 Years

January 18, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Twitter just admitted that the social network accidentally revealed some Android users' protected tweets to the public for more than 4 years — a kind of privacy blunder that you'd typically expect from Facebook . When you sign up for Twitter, all your Tweets are public by default, allowing anyone to view and interact with your Tweets. Fortunately, Twitter also gives you control of your information, allowing you to choose if you want to keep your Tweets protected. Enabling "Protect your Tweets" setting makes your tweets private, and you'll receive a request whenever new people want to follow you, which you can approve or deny. It's just similar to private Facebook updates that limit your information to your friends only. In a post on its Help Center on Thursday, Twitter disclosed a privacy bug dating back to November 3, 2014, potentially caused the Twitter for Android app to disable the "Protect your Tweets" setting for users without their k
Google Secretly Planning to Launch a Censored Search Engine in China

Google Secretly Planning to Launch a Censored Search Engine in China

August 01, 2018Mohit Kumar
After an eight-year-long absence from the most populated country in the world, Google search is going to dramatically make a comeback in China. Google is reportedly planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that is going to blacklist certain websites and search terms to comply with Chinese government’s attempts to censor the Internet, a whistleblower revealed. According to leaked documents obtained by The Intercept, CEO Sundar Pichai met with a Chinese government official in December 2017 to re-enter the world’s largest market for internet users. Project Dragonfly — Censored Google Search Engine Since spring last year Google engineers have been secretly working on a project, dubbed " Dragonfly ," which currently includes two Android mobile apps named—Maotai and Longfei—one of which will get launched by the end of this year after Chinese officials approve it. The censored version of Google search engine in the form of a mobile app report
Google Bans Cryptocurrency Mining Android Apps From the Play Store

Google Bans Cryptocurrency Mining Android Apps From the Play Store

July 27, 2018Mohit Kumar
Following Apple's lead in banning cryptocurrency mining apps , Google has also updated its Play Store policy this week to ban apps that mine cryptocurrencies on users' devices in the background. However, there are countless cryptocurrency mining apps, including MinerGate, AA Miner, NeoNeonMiner, and Crypto Miner, still available on the Play Store. Cryptocurrency mining is not a new concept, but the technology has recently been abused in the past year after hackers found it a great way to make millions of dollars by hijacking PCs to secretly mine cryptocurrency in the background without their users' knowledge or consent. Due to this practice, cryptocurrency mining has emerged as one of the biggest threats , raising negative sentiments towards this alternative revenue scheme, and big tech giants like Apple and Google took strict measures to put restrictions on such apps. Over a month ago, Apple updated its App Store guidelines to ban cryptocurrency mining apps and
Android P Will Block Background Apps from Accessing Your Camera, Microphone

Android P Will Block Background Apps from Accessing Your Camera, Microphone

February 26, 2018Mohit Kumar
Yes, your smartphone is spying on you. But, the real question is, should you care? We have published thousands of articles on The Hacker News, warning how any mobile app can turn your smartphone into a bugging device—' Facebook is listening to your conversations', ' Stealing Passwords Using SmartPhone Sensors', 'Your Headphones Can Spy On You' and 'Android Malware Found Spying Military Personnel' to name a few. All these stories have different objectives and targets but have one thing in common, i.e., apps running in the background covertly abuse ‘ permissions ’ without notifying users. Installing a single malicious app unknowingly could allow remote attackers to covertly record audio, video, and taking photos in the background. But, not anymore! In a boost to user privacy, the next version of Google's mobile operating system, Android P, will apparently block apps idling in the background from accessing your smartphone's camera a
Password Stealing Apps With Over A Million Downloads Found On Google Play Store

Password Stealing Apps With Over A Million Downloads Found On Google Play Store

December 13, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Even after so many efforts by Google like launching bug bounty program and preventing apps from using Android accessibility services , malicious applications somehow manage to get into Play Store and infect people with malicious software. The same happened once again when security researchers discovered at least 85 applications in Google Play Store that were designed to steal credentials from users of Russian-based social network VK.com and were successfully downloaded millions of times. The most popular of all masqueraded as a gaming app with more than a million downloads. When this app was initially submitted in March 2017, it was just a gaming app without any malicious code, according to a blog post published Tuesday by Kaspersky Lab. However, after waiting for more than seven months, the malicious actors behind the app updated it with information-stealing capabilities in October 2017. Besides this gaming app, the Kaspersky researchers found 84 such apps on Google Play
Another Shady App Found Pre-Installed on OnePlus Phones that Collects System Logs

Another Shady App Found Pre-Installed on OnePlus Phones that Collects System Logs

November 16, 2017Mohit Kumar
The OnePlus Saga Continues… Just a day after the revelation of the hidden Android rooting backdoor pre-installed on most OnePlus smartphones, a security researcher just found another secret app that records tons of information about your phone. Dubbed OnePlusLogKit , the second pre-installed has been discovered by the same Twitter user who goes by the pseudonym " Elliot Alderson " and discovered the controversial " EngineerMode " diagnostic testing application that could be used to root OnePlus devices without unlocking the bootloader. OnePlusLogKit is a system-level application that is capable of capturing a multitude of things from OnePlus smartphones, including: Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, and GPS location logs, Modem signal and data logs, hot and power issue logs, list of the running processes, list of running service and battery status, media databases, including all your videos and images saved on the device. Unlike EngineerMode (which was found
Hackers Could Turn LG Smart Appliances Into Remote-Controlled Spy Robot

Hackers Could Turn LG Smart Appliances Into Remote-Controlled Spy Robot

October 27, 2017Swati Khandelwal
If your smart devices are smart enough to make your life easier, then their smart behaviour could also be exploited by hackers to invade your privacy or spy on you, if not secured properly. Recent research conducted by security researchers at threat prevention firm Check Point highlights privacy concern surrounding smart home devices manufactured by LG. Check Point researchers discovered a security vulnerability in LG SmartThinQ smart home devices that allowed them to hijack internet-connected devices like refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, air conditioners, dryers, and washing machines manufactured by LG. ...and what's worse? Hackers could even remotely take control of LG's Hom-Bot, a camera-equipped robotic vacuum cleaner, and access the live video feed to spy on anything in the device's vicinity. This hack doesn't even require hacker and targeted device to be on the same network. Dubbed HomeHack , the vulnerability resides in the mobile app and cloud app
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
Beware! Viral Sarahah App Secretly Steals Your Entire Contact List

Beware! Viral Sarahah App Secretly Steals Your Entire Contact List

August 28, 2017Mohit Kumar
Are you also one of those 18 Million users using SARAHAH? You should beware of this app because the anonymous feedback application may not be as private as it really sounds. Sarahah is a newly launched app that has become one of the hottest iPhone and Android apps in the past couple of weeks, allowing its users to sign up to receive anonymised, candid messages from other Sarahah users. However, it turns out that the app silently uploads users' phone contacts to the company's servers for no good reason, spotted by security analyst Zachary Julian. When an Android or iOS user downloads and installs the app for the first time, the app immediately harvests and uploads all phone numbers and email addresses from the user's address book, according to The Intercept . While an app requesting access to the user's phonebook is quite common if the app provides any feature that works with contacts, no such functionality in Sarahah is available right now. "The pri
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
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
Did You Install Super Mario Run APK for Android? That's Malware

Did You Install Super Mario Run APK for Android? That's Malware

December 27, 2016Swati Khandelwal
After the success of Pokémon Go , Nintendo's " Super Mario Run " has become the hottest game to hit the market with enormous popularity and massive social impact. The game has taken the world by storm since its launch for iOS devices over a week ago. Can you believe  —  it was downloaded more than 40 million times worldwide in its first four days of release. But if you have downloaded a Super Mario Run APK for your Android device, Beware! That's definitely a malware. Since Super Mario Run has currently been released only for iOS devices and is not on Google Play, it caused a lot of disappointment among Android users. So, eventually, many Android device owners who love Mario games and can not wait to play Super Mario Run ended up downloading APKs outside of the Google Play Store. But those tons of phony copycat unofficial Super Mario apps on many third-party Android app stores turn out to be malware or viruses that attempt to look like the legitimate Super
Uber Now Tracks Your Location Even After Your Ride

Uber Now Tracks Your Location Even After Your Ride

December 09, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Uber was in controversies at the mid of this year for monitoring the battery life of its users, as the company believed that its users were more likely to pay a much higher price to hire a cab when their phone's battery is close to dying. Uber is now tracking you even when your ride is over, and, according to the ride-hailing company, the surveillance will improve its service. Uber recently updated its app to collect user location data in the background. So, if you have updated your Uber app recently, your app's location tracking permissions have changed, allowing the app to monitor your location before and five minutes after your trip ends, even if you have closed the app. A popup on the Uber app will ask you, "Allow 'Uber' to access our location even when you are not using the app?" You can click " Allow " or " Don't Allow " in response to this request. If you don't allow it, Uber won't track you. According to t
Russia to get rid of Android and iOS by launching its own Mobile Operating System

Russia to get rid of Android and iOS by launching its own Mobile Operating System

June 07, 2016Mohit Kumar
Last month, it was reported that the European Commission is planning to impose a record antitrust fine of about 3 BILLION euros ( US$3.4 Billion ) on Google for violating antitrust laws. Not just Europe, Google also lost an anti-monopoly appeal in Russia two months back against ruling for violating its dominant position with the help of its Android mobile OS by forcing its own apps and services like Google Map, Youtube, and others, on users — reducing competition. Now to put an end to the monopoly of major mobile Operating System, Russians are developing their own mobile operating system to compete with Android, iOS, and Windows mobile OS. The Minister of Russian Communication Ministry, Nikolai Nikiforov tweeted last month about the initiative to develop a new Russian mobile operating system, for which the Russian company Open Mobile Platform (Открытая Мобильная Платформа) is hiring developers, testers and security engineers. Open Mobile Platform is developing a Linux-ba
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