Minecraft skins on the Play Store discovered as malware

At this point it’s become quite clear that Google isn’t really the best at keeping malicious apps out of the Play Store, although it’s doing a spectacularly flashy job of trying to convince us otherwise. So it’s no surprise today has brought us another piece of news about malware infiltrating Google’s online storefront. The culprit this time? Minecraft.

Okay, not exactly — the old Microsoft/Google rivalry has yet to devolve into cyber warfare tactics. However, as security researchers working for Symantec recently found out, the game’s mobile version has been used as a vector …


Malware found in wallpaper apps infects 21 million Android devices via Google Play

The second largest outbreak to hit the Google Play Store that we know of is called ExpensiveWall, a new malware discovered in wallpaper apps, which is said to be responsible for the infection of 21.1 million Android devices.

Check Point’s researchers discovered the malware early last month and issued a statement that contains all their findings related to ExpensiveWall.

Unfortunately, the malware infected at least 50 apps on Google Play, which were downloaded between 1 million and 4.2 million times before they were removed.

The ExpensiveWall malware was “packed” inside wallpaper …

SonicSpy malware has made it to the Play Store carried by thousands of apps, can use phone camera, microphone, and more

Viruses are always a nasty thing to deal with and it has been so since the age of the first household PCs. However, malicious software, which aims to allow an attacker to steal your data or hijack your device for their purposes, is downright dangerous. Especially considering how much sensitive information we keep on our computers and our phones nowadays.

We generally feel safe and secure when downloading apps from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, since both marketplaces have strict rules and monitoring of each new product. However, every once in a while, …

Info-stealing malware Xavier has infected hundreds of free apps on Google Play Store

Android users beware! Over 800 Android apps Google Play Store are found to be infected with information-collecting malware dubbed Xavier. According to Trend Micro security experts, the malware has been pre-installed on a wide range of free Android applications, such as photo editors and wallpapers, and has been downloaded millions of times so far. 

The Xavier malware is in fact an ad library – an element, integrated in free apps to enable advertising as a revenue source for their developers, and often referred to as adware. But being a relatively harmless …

Russian hackers using Instagram to mask malware links

Turla, a Russian hacking collective, was recently found to be using Instagram comments as a means of hiding links to its malware. Known for targeting governments in the past, the hacker group appears to be experimenting with familiar routes of infection, although targeting rather unfamiliar victims – everyday citizens. By planting encoded links to their malware within the comments section of a photo on Britney Spears’ official Instagram page, hackers were able to infect some visitors with malware. Fortunately for most Instagram users, this particular attack only affects …

Judy, Judy, Judy; Malware affects as many as 36.5 million Android devices

Last week, researchers at Check Point discovered malware called “Judy” that could have infected as many as 36.5 million Android devices. The auto-clicking adware generates large numbers of fraudulent clicks on ads, resulting in large sums being paid to the hackers behind the operation. The malware was found on 41 apps offered by a Korean firm, and quickly spread between 4.5 million and 18.5 million downloads.

The interesting thing is that many of these apps had been listed in the Google Play Store for years, but all of them had recently been updated. Check Point also discovered a few apps …

Nokia reports 400% increase in malware infection rates, mostly on Android smartphones

Nokia is back in the headlines with its second bi-annual ‘Threat Intelligence Report’ where the crafty Finns explore mobile infections and vulnerabilities for the first and second half of the year (2016). The report paints a rather bleak picture – last year saw a 400% increase in malware infection rates, with smartphones being 85% of infected devices.

Unsurprisingly, Android phones and tablets are most vulnerable, for Android is the world’s most popular operating system (yes), and therefore most targeted by attackers. In an interesting twist, infections among Windows PCs have fallen, which …

Bad vibes, bro – malware makers hacked the Huawei P9 Plus's vibrator!


Bzzt, bzzt! All smartphones have a vibration motor in them, good enough for subtly alerting you from inside your pocket or giving your phone the autonomy to casually slide off the table. The Huawei P9 Plus has a special one, though – one whose security has been penetrated by attackers mishandling the vibrator into crashing the entire operating system.

Unlike other vibrators happily buzzing inside smartphones, the P9 Plus’ had a Denial of Service vulnerability that a malicious app could exploit to make the smartphone freeze. The exploit has been closed by Huawei, but in the meantime, …

More than 100 Play Store apps tried to infect Android devices with Windows malware

In a curious case uncovered by security research firm Palo Alto Networks, 132 apps published on Google’s Play Store were found to contain malware designed for Windows PCs. The apps, which were published by a total of seven developers and some of which had more than 10,000 downloads, all shared the common symptom of concealed iframe tags in their HTML code.

The iframes, which are most commonly used for embedding external elements, such as a YouTube video, in a webpage, tried loading elements from two well-known malicious Poland-based domains. What’s even …

Android malware spies on you even after phone is shut down

A particularly devious new Android malware can make calls or take photos even if you shut the device down, according to security research firm AVG.

To achieve this, the malware hijacks the shutting down process — making it appear as though your Android device is shutting down. You see the animation, the screen goes black, but the phone is actually still on.

In this state, the malware can use the phone to send your messages to a third party, record a call or take a photo, essentially turning your phone into a device that spies on you.

android-phone-malware-shut-down

AVG, which posted code excerpts showing some of the malware’s functionality, names this threat Android/PowerOffHijack.A. According to the company, it infects devices running Android versions below 5.0 and requires root permissions in order to act.

The company spokesperson told us some 10,000 devices were infected so far, mostly in China where the malware was first introduced and offered through the local, official app stores.

The latest AVG antivirus products can detect this threat, but the company still advises users to take the battery out of their phone if they really want to be sure their phone is off.