These 28+ Android Apps with 10 Million Downloads from the Play Store Contain Malware – The Hacker News


Jul 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, they also covertly load various websites in WebView, and simulate user actions to click on banners and ads.

Also uncovered are another set of apps distributing the Joker malware in the form of launcher, camera, and emoji stickers apps that, when installed, subscribe users to paid mobile services without their knowledge and consent.

The third category of rogue apps relates to those that pose as image editing software but, in reality, are designed to break into Facebook accounts.

“Upon launching, they asked potential victims to log in to their accounts and then loaded a genuine Facebook authorization page,” Dr.Web researchers said. “Next, they hijacked the authentication data and sent it to malicious actors.”

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