Check Point reveals details on latest mobile adware and data stealing malware campaigns


Researchers from Israeli based cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies has unveiled details about two massive mobile adware and data stealing campaigns which are reported to have already targeted over 250 million victims on a global note.

The study reveals that this mobile adware and data stealing campaigns are targeting Android mobiles by invading the devices via the mobile app development supply chain.

Dubbed as SimBad, the massive mobile adware campaign is said to have infected more than 210 apps on Google Play Store which are reported to have been download more than 147 million times.
As most of the tainted applications are Simulator games, the adware has been named as SimBad which frustrates the victims by displaying countless ads with no alternative of uninstalling them.

Reports are in that SimBad also generates phishing pages for multiple platforms and opens them in a browser leading to spear phishing attacks.

Coming to the data-stealing cyber attack campaign dubbed as ‘Operation Sheep’, researchers from Check Point have learned that some android apps are massively harvesting contact info on mobile phones without valid permission from users. The Tel Avid based company discovered that over 12 different apps were found using data-scrapping Software Development Kit (SDK) in the campaign to steal data and were found to be downloaded more than 111 million times.

FYI, Operation Sheep happens to be a humongous data stealing campaign found in the wild which is being targeted by exploiting the man-in-the-disk vulnerability.

Check Point argues that the SDK named SWAnalytics was found installed default on innocent android apps which are being published by major 3rd party Chinese app stores such as Tencent, MyApp, Wandoujia, Huawei, and Xiaomi App store. Involvement of these Chinese app stores in the data-stealing campaign is yet to be found.

The highlight of this campaign is that hackers promoting ‘Operation Sheep’ are found ignoring old Android devices below marshmallow and are found to be using the data for black-hat marketing campaigns, telephone scams along with friend referral program abuse.

As of now a solution to protect a company’s digital assets is yet to be determined. But security experts are urging organizations to better understand what commercial and open source products could yield to them on security aspect and be prepared for potential cyber attacks using legitimate software.

Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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