Android users face security risk after malware found in over 100 apps in Google Play: Report
Cybersecurity never ceases to be a cause of worry as makers of spyware, malware, and other harmful modules keep inventing new ways to breach the safety net of our gadgets and steal users’ confidential information.
Recently, malware analysts have flagged an Android mini-game app that is actually spyware. It collects user information stored in mobile phones and transfers it to cybercriminals, antivirus company Dr Web reported.
According to experts, this malefic software has cast a dark cloud hanging over user safety as the spyware was embedded in 101 apps that had more than 420 million downloads.
Named Android.Spy.SpinOk, it is distributed as a marketing software development kit (SDK) and developers can embed it in all sorts of games and apps, including those available on the Google Play Store.
"On the surface, the SpinOk module is designed to maintain users’ interest in apps with the help of mini-games, a system of tasks, and alleged prizes and reward drawings," the report said. "Upon initialisation, this trojan SDK connects to a C&C server by sending a request containing a large amount of technical information about the infected device."
The spyware implements measures to modify its operational patterns in order to evade detection by security researchers, said the report.
"For the same purpose, it ignores device proxy settings, which allows it to hide network connections during analysis. In response, the module receives a list of URLs from the server, which it then opens in WebView to display advertising banners," the report said.
Through this functionality, the spyware allows cyber criminals to access the list of files on the targeted device, check for specific files or directories, and even manipulate the contents of the device's clipboard. Doctor Web experts discovered this spyware module, along with various modified versions of it, in several applications available on Google Play.
"Our malware analysts discovered it in 101 apps with at least 421,290,300 cumulative downloads. Thus, hundreds of millions of Android device owners are at risk of becoming victims of cyber espionage. Doctor Web notified Google about the uncovered threat," the company stated.