Items tagged with Google Play

The latest “Joker” spyware is no laughing matter as it can easily compromise a lot of the personal data you keep on your phone. Researchers recently discovered spyware that can access your SMS messages, contact list and other information. The spyware was found in over 24 Android apps on Google Play and has infected nearly 500,000 users. The “Joker” spyware was originally detected this past June and was named after one of its command-and-control (C2) domain names. It can gain access to a victim’s SMS messages, contacts list, and other specific device information. It can also sign victims up for premium subscription services without their knowledge. The Joker is able... Read more...
Earlier this week, you brought you the news of an unfortunate turn of events that resulted in the popular app CamScanner being removed from the Google Play Store. The app, which can create PDF documents, is developed by CC Intelligence and has been downloaded over 100 million times. The problem came into play when users began getting bombarded with "unwanted features" and advertisements that took over their smartphone's display. The folks at Kaspersky Lab were able to determine that the CamScanner was carrying a malicious module dubbed Trojan-Dropper.AndroidOS.Necro.n, which was serving intrusive ads to users. After staying mum on the situation for most of the week, CamScanner's developers... Read more...
It seems as though every few weeks that we hear about a new Android malware or adware scheme that has invaded the Google Play Store. Unfortunately, we today have to report on yet another adware scheme that was uncovered by the security gurus over at Trend Micro.  The adware has been identified as AndroidOS_Hidenad.HRXH, and it was preloaded on 85 apps found in Google Play. According to the security researchers, the adware was primarily disguised as either a photography or gaming app. What's most alarming, however, is that these 85 apps were cumulatively downloaded over 8 million times by unsuspecting Android users.  A small sample of the adware apps on Google Play. According... Read more...
Have you noticed your Android handset depleting its battery at a faster clip than usual? If so, the culprit could be a recent update to Google Play Services. There have been multiple reports of unusually fast battery drain on various Android phones running Google Play Services 18.3.82, suggesting there is a bug with the software. This does not appear to affect any single make or model Android phone—any Android device running the latest version of Google Play Services is prone to shortened battery life, compared whatever the normal run time might be. Source: Artem Russakovskii (via Twitter) APKMirror founder and Android Police writer Artem Russakovskii noted the disparity on Twitter, as... Read more...
When Apple announced its monthly subscription gaming service called Apple Arcade, everyone expected Google to launch its own similar service. It's taken Google some time to launch a competing service, but it seems that service is here. Google is now testing a service called Google Play Pass. Google's Play Pass service calls out access to games and apps indicating it won't just be an arcade offering. The app images are from the signup page allegedly seen by an unnamed reader and sent to Android Police. The signup page offers a subscribe link and calls out a monthly fee of $4.99. App users will appreciate that the Play Pass notes there are no purchases, no ads, and all in-app purchases are unlocked.... Read more...
One of the smartest things that Samsung smartphones users can do is to keep their devices updated with the latest firmware from Samsung. Consistent updates allows them to have the latest security updates to help protect their device and personal data. A new report claims that 10 million Samsung smartphone users have downloaded an app from Google Play that is called "Updates for Samsung." The users apparently thought that the app was an official app from Samsung, but what the app does is redirect users to a website filled with ads where they are charged for firmware updates. Samsung offers firmware updates for its smartphones at no cost. As of this writing, the "Updates for Samsung" app was... Read more...
182 Android apps have been linked to an adware campaign that has plagued users who download apps from Google Play. Trend Micro detected the adware campaign identified as AndroidOS_HiddenAd.HRXAA and AndroidOS_HiddenAd.GCLA. The adware was hidden inside free-to-download game and camera apps, the majority of which were found on the Google Play Store and had millions of downloads collectively. The adware behind the campaign was disguised as game and camera apps and was discovered in mid-June. Trend Micro says that it generated heuristic patterns that were used to analyze other samples it had detected and were able to deduce that the adware campaign had been active since 2018. All of the apps that... Read more...
This mobile app is definitely something to scream about in more ways than one. The Android game “Scary Granny ZOMBYE Mod: The Horror Game 2019” s stealing users’ Google and Facebook data. The malicious app attempts to siphon both data and money from its users to attackers.  “Scary Granny ZOMBYE Mod: The Horror Game 2019” was a horror game that mimicked another popular Android game “Granny”. Users were tasked with running away from zombies while uncovering extra lives and various weapons. The game was installed over 50,000 times and boasted a 4-star review in the Google Play store before it was removed on June 27th. Image credit: Wandera Security... Read more...
The Google Play app store ecosystem is robust, and many of the apps that people buy are purchased with a credit card that is tied to the person's Google Play account. For most people linking a credit card to their account isn't a big deal, but that isn't always the case in all market around the globe. Some users fear the security of their credit card information, and often parents don't want to tie a credit card to a kid's account out of fear the child might make unauthorized purchases. In some countries, the problems are more significant than security. In locations like India where most people use Android devices, but few use credit cards or debit cards with bank accounts, paying for apps is... Read more...
Several apps from a developer with ties to China's Baidu were caught committing click fraud and sending information to China without the knowledge of the app users. When the revelation of the apps committing click fraud first surfaced, Google had stated that the six apps initially had been blacklisted and were no longer usable. The apps included Selfie Camera app, Omni Cleaner, RAM Master, Smart Cooler, Total Cleaner, and AIO Flashlight. Google now appears to be making a move that could see every app published by the developer removed from the Google Play store. So far more than 40 apps from the developer have gotten the ax. Before being caught in the click fraud scheme, the developer had around... Read more...
Fraudulent apps on the Google Play store are a huge problem for Android users. Some of the fraudulent apps aim to steal money and other information. In February this year, word surfaced that a cryptocurrency-stealing malware had been found on Google Play, while malware-laden game apps were found last November that were affecting half a million users. Perhaps the biggest app fraud case was discovered in November 2018, when apps from Cheetah Mobile were committing millions of dollars in ad click fraud. However, now it appears click fraud is even more widespread and all too common. There are several popular Android apps from a major Chinese developer that have been called out for click fraud. One... Read more...
Malware is rampant on the Google Play store and is something that Google is trying to get a handle on. Apple has much less of an issue with malware on its App Store because it forces a review process for every app that wants to be distributed on the app store. That doesn't mean that malware and nefarious apps can't make their way through. Mobile security firm Lookout says that a developer has been able to abuse Apple-issued security certificates to bypass the App Store and target Apple devices. The app hid as a carrier assistance app, and once it was installed, it has wide-ranging permissions that allow it to silently capture the compromised device contacts, audio recordings, photos, videos,... Read more...
Remember when malware on mobile devices was not really a thing? Neither do we, not anymore. Hackers and cyber miscreants go where the numbers are, and there are a lot of people who own a mobile device these days. As it relates to that, a security firm has discovered a serious vulnerability in a hugely popular Android app. Called UC Browser, the app has been downloaded by more than 500 million Google Play users. It currently sits at a fractionally better than 4-star rating (out of 5 stars) out of around 19.5 million user reviews. In case you have never heard of it, UC Browser is a free web browser for Android devices that allows users to search, download, share videos, and so forth. Developed... Read more...
Facebook is notorious for disrespecting users’ privacy. Users have plenty of reasons to be suspicious of the social media site, thanks to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the most recent privacy breach, and everything in between. The social media giant is thankfully now taking a step in the right direction by removing their Onavo VPN app from the Google Play store. The Onavo VPN can no longer be found in the Google Play store and Facebook has stopped recruiting potential users. Facebook promises that the app will be completely shut down, although they have not provided a final date. They will continue to offer their virtual private network (VPN) for the time being until users can find a... Read more...
One of the first things that most people do when they get a new Android device is to log into their Google account. That allows the preinstalled apps to update automatically, among other things. Updates are important because often the update is meant to patch some sort of flaw that makes the app or device unstable or to patch a security hole that leaves devices vulnerable. The problem is that not everyone logs into a Google account on their device. That means apps are left unpatched and Google wants to change that. Google is sending out messages to developers who preload apps on devices letting the devs know that it would be testing a feature that allows the apps to update even if the user fails... Read more...
Hold onto your wallet. Researchers at ESET have discovered the first known instance of a relatively new strain of cryptocurrency-stealing malware, called a "clipper", on the Google Play Store. They reported their findings to the Play Store's security team on February 1st, who quickly took down the offending application. The attack uses a remarkably simple trick to part users with their digital funds. Cryptocurrency values are assigned to a long, unique string of characters known as a wallet. In order to make a transaction, a sender typically needs to enter the recipient's wallet address in their app. This is similar to how you would put a real-world address on an envelope in order for it to be... Read more...
Google has slowly been grooming Android developers for a 64-bit world for the past couple of years, and will continue to do up through the latter half of 2021. Nothing has really changed in that regard, though Google is now providing app developers with a more detailed timeline so they can plan their switchover accordingly, if they haven't already. The benefit of moving to 64-bit code is that it can provide faster performance overall and make way for future innovations, like machine learning and artificial intelligence schemes. Generally speaking, 64-bit apps can make better use of your hardware, assuming you own a relatively modern handset. "We want to help you get ready and know you need time... Read more...
Google still has a massive malware problem within the Google Play store. In November, we learned that apps from Cheetah Mobile had been part of a massive click fraud scheme that saw apps from it and Kika Tech stealing millions of dollars in fraudulent clicks. The apps had reportedly been downloaded around 2 billion times in total. A malware-infected QR Reader app had racked up 500,000 downloads in March of last year before being removed from the store. Now Google has reportedly removed another 85 apps from Google Play because they were malware laden. The batch of 85 apps wasn't removed from the Google Play store until analysts with Trend Micro discovered that the apps had malware inside.... Read more...
It's not a good time to be an Android user who frequents the Google Play Store for apps. Just over the last few weeks, malware-laden apps that had been downloaded over half a million times were found on the Play Store. Apps from Cheetah Mobile were also found to be committing click fraud and running down the batteries inside user devices. Reports are now surfacing that Google has now pulled another batch of 22 apps from the Google Play Store that had been downloaded over 2 million times cumulatively. The newest apps discovered to be malicious had a so-called "device-draining backdoor" that allowed them to download files from a server controlled by the attacker. The most disturbing part is... Read more...
Android users who think the apps they download on the Google Play store are safe and secure would be wrong in many cases. Malware and other fraudulent apps often run rampant within the Google Play Store. Now a new report claims that seven apps from Cheetah Mobile and one from Kika Tech that have a combined 2 billion downloads via Google Play are part of a massive ad fraud scheme. The two companies are related; Kika Tech reportedly had a significant investment from Cheetah in 2016. The ad fraud scheme was outed by research firm Kochava, and according to the researchers, these fraudulent apps could have stolen millions of dollars. Cheetah and Kika combined claim they have 700 million active users... Read more...
Malware-laden apps are nothing new for the Google Play store where Android users go to download apps of all sorts. Google has been heavily criticized over the years for not doing enough to prevent malicious apps from being offered to users via the Google Play Store. This year we have seen a malicious app masquerading as the official Uber app with the intent of stealing real Uber account details. North Korean hackers also created a data-stealing malware app in May with the goal of seeking revenge on defectors. Thirteen game apps were recently identified as being malicious, and together the apps had been installed by over half a million users. The games were all driving simulators with one of them,... Read more...
Who doesn’t love free credits? Google is currently offering $1, $2, $3 or $5 credits to some Play Store users. You may not be able to “make it rain”, but you may be able to nab an app you have been eyeing. Google appears to be offering a $2 credit to consumers who purchased a Pixel 3 or 3 XL. It also seems to be offering $1, $3, or $5 credits to other users, but it is unclear why. If you have received a credit, you will see a blue banner with an opened present illustration. You will need to scroll down past the first few sections of app recommendations to find the banner. Once you have clicked on the banner, simply tap “confirm” to receive your free credits. You... Read more...
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