Android users beware! Google recently removed 17 malicious apps from the Play Store after they were found to be stealing users’ banking information from devices.
According to a report by Trend Micro, a security research firm, these malware applications aim to steal users’ data, including bank credentials, PIN numbers, passwords, and any other information. These apps can also intercept text messages and infect devices with malware.
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Apps that carry malware to steal data and bypass the security of the Google Play Store lead to a dropper-as-a-service (DaaS) model, called dropper apps. These apps contain a load of malicious malware, which is installed on phones.
“Malicious actors have surreptitiously added an increasing number of banking Trojans to the Google Play Store via malicious trains this year, proving that such a technique is effective in avoiding detection,” Trend Micro wrote in a blog.
In addition, due to the high demand for new ways to distribute malware on mobile devices, many malicious actors claim that their trains can help other cybercriminals spread their malware on the Google Play Store.
Late in the year, Trend Micro discovered a malicious campaign using a new dropper variant, dubbed DawDropper. The following Android apps were originally found in the Google Play Store, which have now been removed:
- Call Recorder APK (com.caduta.aisevsk)
- Rooster VPN (com.vpntool.androidweb)
- Super Cleaner – Hyper Smart (com.j2ca.callrecorder)
- Document Scanner – PDF Creator (com.codeword.docscann)
- Universal Saver Pro (com.virtualapps.universalsaver)
- Eagle Photo Editor (com.techmediapro.photoediting)
- call recorder pro + (com.chestudio.callrecorder)
- Extra Cleaner (com.casualplay.leadbro)
- Crypto Utils (com.utilsmycrypto.mainer)
- FixCleaner (com.cleaner.fixgate)
- Just In: Video Motion (com.olivia.openpuremind)
- Lucky Cleaner (com.luckyg.cleaner)
- Simpli Cleaner (com.scando.qukscanner)
- Unicc QR Scanner (com.qrdscannerratedx)
If you have any of the above-mentioned applications installed on your Android smartphone, it is recommended that you uninstall them immediately.
“Cybercriminals are constantly finding ways to avoid detection and infect as many devices as possible. In the span of half a year, we have seen how banking Trojans have improved their technical measures to avoid detection, such as hiding malicious payloads on trains.”
“As more banking trojans become available via DaaS, malicious actors will have an easier and more cost-effective way to distribute malware disguised as legitimate apps. We expect this trend to continue and more banking trojans will be distributed to digital distribution services in the future.” .
In order to stay safe from malicious apps, users are advised to always check app reviews for unusual concerns or negative experiences, apply due diligence when looking at app developers and publishers, and avoid downloading apps from suspicious websites or unknown sources.