All those who are using iOS based smart phones and Android software loaded devices, you are hereby been informed that some threat actors are seen distributing malicious adware through official app stores. The highlight is that the hackers are seen encouraging public to download malicious apps via TikTok and Instagram along with Facebook.
According to a research carried out by Avast, over 2.4 million smart devices have been infected with the malware and the count can increase if the official number of downloads are confirmed by sources from Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
The apps in discussion are very simple and linked to prank applications to shock friends, wallpapers, music downloads and some gaming softwares. Hackers are seen promoting such apps through pop-up advertisements on multiple social media platforms. What’s interesting about this promo campaign is that the ad takes the user to the downloading field even if they click on the symbol meant to remove them- thus generating revenue in either way.
One technique the cyber crooks are following is to bypass security protections on the official Android and Apple app store via embedded HiddenAds Trojans.
Once the app gets installed on the user device, it is seen generating ad revenue to the developer with the help of intrusive advertisements demanding up to $8 from users.
“Google and Apple should take stringent actions against those publishing malicious apps on their platforms and must remove those acting against their ad policies on a respective note”, said Jakub Vavra, Threat Analyst, Avast.
Some apps that are acting strange and removed recently are ThemeZone- Shawky App, Shock My Friends, Ultimate Music Downloader, and ThemeZone along with an app named Bazumba. However, the highlight of this app removal is that they have been scrapped down after they were downloaded over 2 million times from the two playstores on a collective note- so most of the damage has already been done
Mr. Jakub said that their research have found that all such malicious apps were seen spying on user’s photos, videos, external storage, contacts and messages and two among them were seen sending information to remote servers about the mobile e-wallets been used on the device.
Google has reacted to the news by immediately removing a list of 47 apps as soon as Avast issued an alert on them.
Information on the Joker malware being circulated through Google PlayStore is yet to be revealed by Avast.