Malicious apps found on Google Play Store despite new App Defense Alliance
Researchers at Check Point have recently found eight malicious apps containing malware on the Google Play app store, despite Google forming the App Defense Alliance in November 2019 to improve security of apps in the store.
The apps were camera utilities and kids' games and all carried the Haken malware. Check Point estimates the apps had been installed on over 50,000 Android devices before they were analyzed and removed from the Play store.
Haken is able to take control of the user’s device and click on anything that may appear on the screen. The malware can access any type of data, including data visible on-screen, such as work emails or chats over messaging apps. The impact on users is two-fold, it can sign them up for premium subscription services without the user realizing, earning money illegally for the people behind the app. It could also exfiltrate sensitive data from the user’s device.
The discovery of these apps highlights that despite ongoing efforts to secure the Google Play Store against them, rogue apps can still be uploaded.
If you suspect you have downloaded one of these apps you should uninstall it from your device, check your mobile and credit-card bills to see if you have been signed up for any subscriptions and unsubscribe if possible, and install a security solution to prevent future infections.
You can find out more on the Check Point site.