Trend Micro Warns Of Malicious Android Apps In Google Play Coded To Mine Virtual Coins

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News Posted: Thu, Mar 27 2014 9:40 AM
Security researchers at Trend Micro report finding a new Android malware family designed to mine crytocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dogecoin. The malicious mining code is being repackaged in copies of popular apps like Football Manger Handheld and TuneIn Radio. To hide the code, malware writers modify the Google Mobile Ads portion of the app, allowing them to slip into Google Play.

Once installed, the hidden code gets busy mining virtual currencies in the background. It detects when there's an Internet connection so that the CPU miner can connect to a dynamic domain, which then redirects to an anonymous Dogecoin (or other virtual currency) mining pool, Trend Micro says.

Android Phone

In one example, as of mid-February, the tactic allowed a malware writer to collect thousands of Dogecoins. He then switched mining pools where he's been cashing in Bitcoins on a regular basis. According to Trend Micro, that particular instance involved a booby-trapped app found from a third-party app source, but researchers have noticed the same behavior in apps currently available in Google Play -- specifically, Songs and Prized - Real Rewards & Prices.

"These apps have been downloaded by millions of users, which means that there may be many Android devices out there being used to mine cryptocurreny for cybercriminals," Trend Micro says. "We detect this new malware family as ANDROIDOS_KAGECOIN.HBTB."

There are signs that your device could be infected. Some things to look for include degraded performance, running hot, charging slowly, and faster than usual battery drains.
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Jordan replied on Thu, Mar 27 2014 11:13 AM

Honestly, this is pretty genious! Totally unethical and terrible to use peoples' devices like this, but genius nonetheless.

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***olt replied on Thu, Mar 27 2014 11:26 AM

i dont really understand how this mining thing works exactly, but i saw the other day that 1 bitcoin is like 600usd or something and that blew my mind, so if this software let these guys get even 2 bitcoins thats like over a thousand dollars.. crazy

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Jason replied on Thu, Mar 27 2014 1:40 PM

Wow. How smart is that! I wonder how much more that would make than a mining machine on a set period of time. I personally am not a fan of crypto currency. Not after all those bitcoins went missing. Kinda makes me wanna factory reset my device seeing as I have been experiencing unusual battery life.

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StaticFX replied on Thu, Mar 27 2014 2:18 PM

cant really see how effective it would be.. considering whats needed as far as GPU power to mine them (maybe if 50K people had the app on their phone)... but yeah, it was a good idea

 

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Flappy Bird's True Purpose? haha

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I think I might be a victim to this considering the fact I had some of the apps listed ._. especially the degraded performance D:

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CharlesYu replied on Thu, Mar 27 2014 8:37 PM

I believe people should expect this by now. Anything new people will find a way to exploit and gain. Its human nature.

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kalqlate replied on Fri, Mar 28 2014 12:34 AM

Me too! :( I've got TuneIn Radio installed. Time to delete. I wonder if deletion is all that's required to remedy the problem.

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Can you just remove the apps and its all sorted? My gf has the radio one and her phones battery life and performance have gone terrible lately. Think she also has more on that list too :/

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