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Google bans Facebook and other self updating Android apps

Google bans Facebook and other self updating Android apps

April 26, 2013Mohit Kumar
Google just released a new Play Store version 4.0.27 that, contains only very minor tweaks and Google has changed the rules of its Google Play Store to put an end to the practice of developers updating their apps through their own means rather than the official Google Play channel. Shortly before the Facebook Home launch, some users noticed a new version of Facebook was available on their device, but it wasn't through the Play Store. Instead, the update came directly through the app, bypassing the Store altogether. Under the " Dangerous Products " section of the Google Play developer policies, Google now states that " an app downloaded from Google Play may not modify, replace or update its own APK binary code using any method other than Google Play's update mechanism. " Essentially this means that once an app is downloaded by an Android user it cannot contact home base and auto-update its own operating code. Instead, it has to use the off
8 Best Android Apps To Improve Privacy and Security

8 Best Android Apps To Improve Privacy and Security

April 30, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Just to have a good anti-virus protection app in your smartphone doesn't mean a complete Security. As Mobile Device Security is comprised of security of different features, such as: Data privacy and security features Permission restrictions for snoopy apps A blacklist for undesired calls An excellent backup capability, in case your smartphone gets deteriorated. As well as encryption functionality. Google's Android is a very flexible mobile operating system that can fulfill all these mobile device security challenges if you select the right security applications from Google Play Store. No doubt, Google Play Store has an abundance of suitable options, and it's quite difficult for you to select the ones that meet all your expectations. So, I decided to help you by making a short list of the best mobile device security applications that I always carry in my Android smartphone. Here are the best security apps you must have in your Android smartphone; have a look
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
Malicious Minecraft apps affect 600,000 Android Users

Malicious Minecraft apps affect 600,000 Android Users

May 26, 2015Mohit Kumar
So you love Minecraft ? You might want to be very careful before downloading the cheats for the popular Minecraft game from Google Play Store. Nearly 3 Million users have downloaded malicious Minecraft Android applications for their smartphone and tablets from the Google Play store, security researchers warned. The security researchers from IT security firm ESET have uncovered as many as 33 fake "scareware" applications that have been uploaded to the Google Play store in the course of the past 9 months, masquerading as Minecraft cheats and tip guides. These malicious applications have been downloaded between 660,000 and 2.8 million times. "All of the discovered apps were fake in that they did not contain any of the promised functionality and only displayed banners that tried to trick users into believing that their Android system is infected with a dangerous virus," ESET researcher Lukas Stefanko wrote in a blog post . Once downloaded, these mali
WireX DDoS Botnet: An Army of Thousands of Hacked Android SmartPhones

WireX DDoS Botnet: An Army of Thousands of Hacked Android SmartPhones

August 28, 2017Mohit Kumar
Do you believe that just because you have downloaded an app from the official app store, you're safe from malware? Think twice before believing it. A team of security researchers from several security firms have uncovered a new, widespread botnet that consists of tens of thousands of hacked Android smartphones. Dubbed WireX, detected as "Android Clicker," the botnet network primarily includes infected Android devices running one of the hundreds of malicious apps installed from Google Play Store and is designed to conduct massive application layer DDoS attacks. Researchers from different Internet technology and security companies—which includes Akamai, CloudFlare , Flashpoint, Google, Oracle Dyn, RiskIQ, Team Cymru—spotted a series of cyber attacks earlier this month, and they collaborated to combat it. Although Android malware campaigns are quite common these days and this newly discovered campaign is also not that much sophisticated, I am quite impressed wit
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
Google Will Now Pay Anyone Who Reports Apps Abusing Users' Data

Google Will Now Pay Anyone Who Reports Apps Abusing Users' Data

August 29, 2019Mohit Kumar
In the wake of data abuse scandals and several instances of malware app being discovered on the Play Store, Google today expanded its bug bounty program to beef up the security of Android apps and Chrome extensions distributed through its platform. The expansion in Google's vulnerability reward program majorly includes two main announcements. First, a new program, dubbed 'Developer Data Protection Reward Program' (DDPRP), wherein Google will reward security researchers and hackers who find "verifiably and unambiguous evidence" of data abuse issues in Android apps, OAuth projects, and Chrome extensions. Second, expanding the scope of its Google Play Security Rewards Program (GPSRP) to include all Android apps from the Google Play Store with over 100 million or more installs, helping affected app developers fix vulnerabilities through responsibly disclosures.' Get Bounty to Find Data-Abusing Android & Chrome Apps The data abuse bug bounty progr
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 .
300000 Android Devices infected by Premium SMS-Sending Malware

300000 Android Devices infected by Premium SMS-Sending Malware

February 15, 2014Swati Khandelwal
Downloading various apps blindly from Google play store may bring you at risk in terms of money.  PandaLabs , the Cloud Security Company, has identified malicious Android apps on Google Play that can sign up users for premium SMS subscription services without their permission and so far it has infected at least 300,000 Android users, although the number of malicious downloads could have reached 4 times higher i.e. 1,200,000 users. The four apps found free in the app store that came packaged with a premium SMS scam that dubbed as "Easy Hairdos", "Abs Diets", "Workout Routines" and "Cupcake Recipes" and are among the malicious apps available for free download on Google Play store . From the above app, say if 'Abs Diet' has been installed on your phone and once the user has accepted the terms and conditions of the service, the app displays a series of tips to reduce abdominal fat and then without the user's knowledge, the app l
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
BankBot Returns On Play Store – A Never Ending Android Malware Story

BankBot Returns On Play Store – A Never Ending Android Malware Story

November 20, 2017Mohit Kumar
Even after so many efforts by Google for making its Play Store away from malware, shady apps somehow managed to fool its anti-malware protections and infect people with malicious software. A team of researchers from several security firms has uncovered two new malware campaigns targeting Google Play Store users, of which one spreads a new version of BankBot , a persistent family of banking Trojan that imitates real banking applications in efforts to steal users' login details. BankBot has been designed to display fake overlays on legitimate bank apps from major banks around the world, including Citibank, WellsFargo, Chase, and DiBa, to steal sensitive information, including logins and credit card details. With its primary purpose of displaying fake overlays, BankBot has the ability to perform a broad range of tasks, such as sending and intercepting SMS messages, making calls, tracking infected devices, and stealing contacts. Google removed at least four previous versions
Android Bitcoin-Mining Malware found on Google Play Store

Android Bitcoin-Mining Malware found on Google Play Store

April 25, 2014Swati Khandelwal
Google always bound to face trouble over the wide and open nature of its app checking policies on Google Play Store, and despite so many security measures, the search engine giant mostly fails to recognize the Android malware that are lurking around its Google Play store in vast numbers. Recently, Google had offered users refund and additional credit of $5 for the bogus antivirus app ' Virus Sheild ' that potentially defrauded more than 10,000 Android users who have downloaded the app from the Google play store. The step taken by Google is really appreciated, as the refunding cost Google around $269,000. Now, it has been found that a number of malicious Android apps on the Google Play store secretly turn users' android devices into small rigs contributing to a large-scale crypto currency mining operation. CRYPTO MINER IN ANDROID APP Security researchers from an anti-malware firm Lookout have identified various malware apps at Google Play Store, which they dub
All Android Phones Vulnerable to Extremely Dangerous Full Device Takeover Attack

All Android Phones Vulnerable to Extremely Dangerous Full Device Takeover Attack

May 25, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Researchers have discovered a new attack, dubbed 'Cloak and Dagger', that works against all versions of Android, up to version 7.1.2. Cloak and Dagger attack allows hackers to silently take full control of your device and steal private data, including keystrokes, chats, device PIN, online account passwords, OTP passcode, and contacts. What's interesting about Cloak and Dagger attack? The attack doesn't exploit any vulnerability in Android ecosystem; instead, it abuses a pair of legitimate app permissions that is being widely used in popular applications to access certain features on an Android device. Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered this attack, who successfully performed it on 20 people and none of them were able to detect any malicious activity. Cloak and Dagger attacks utilise two basic Android permissions: SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW ("draw on top") BIND_ACCESSIBILITY_SERVICE ("a11y") The first permissi
Fortnite APK Download for Android Won't Be Available on Google Play Store

Fortnite APK Download for Android Won't Be Available on Google Play Store

August 06, 2018Swati Khandelwal
There's both good news and bad news for Fortnite game lovers. Fortnite, one of the most popular games in the world right now, is coming to Android devices very soon, but players would not be able to download Fortnite APK from the Google Play Store. Instead, Epic Games software development company has confirmed the Fortnite APK for Android will be available for download exclusively only through its official website, bypassing the Google Play Store. Why Fortnite for Android Bypassing Google Play Store? Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney cites two main reasons for this decision. First, offering Fortnite APK downloads directly from its official website will allow the company to "have a direct relationship" with its consumers. Second, since Google takes a 30 percent cut of revenue each time a user makes an in-app purchase through its Play Store, the decision will allow the company to save millions. This should not be shocking as Fortnite on iOS made $15 million in j
New Android Smartphones will Come with Fewer Pre-installed Apps

New Android Smartphones will Come with Fewer Pre-installed Apps

August 25, 2015Khyati Jain
A sigh of relief indeed! Google is finally listening to us; it is ditching its haunting bloatware from the upcoming Android smartphones and tablets. As per the current situation, our Android devices are attacked with Google's suite of apps like Google Play Games, Google Newsstand, Google Play Books. The new Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is expected not to be pre-occupied with Google+. Though Android is an open source platform where a user can only give their inputs, the final call is taken by Google; writes and updates Android itself. We can get our own copy from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository. For this, Google has listed thorough instructions to help you build it into a fully functioning version of Android. No Space for Unwanted Apps The phone manufacturers are also given access to the Android source code for free exactly in the same way as users. They can modify and change any parts they like. However, when it comes to installing G
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

July 09, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
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
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