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17 September 2017, 03:42 | Dale Webster
21 million users fall victim to second Google Android malware attack
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Google did not respond immediately to a request seeking comment on whether the company had notified Play customers who had downloaded the malware to urge them to uninstall the malware. Based on other reviews, the researchers from Check Point believe that the apps were also promoted on social media networks through ads.
The ExpensiveWall app used a method through which malicious content was effectively hidden from anti-malware protections that were integrated into Google Play Store.
The malware family uses a common obfuscation technique known as packing that enables apps to hide their maliciousness from Google's scanners by compressing or encrypting the executable file before it's uploaded to Play Store.
These apps followed example from the ExpensiveWall which is a malware photo app that has infected a lot of users this year. Not only did it force people to sign up with subscriptions via SMS, but it was also able to remotely install applications as well as leaking user information including the phone number, Global Positioning System location, installed apps, and IP address.
The aim of the game for the gang behind it is to make money by forcing victim devices to register with premium rate services and then send expensive SMS messages, often without the user's knowledge. It derives its name from one of the apps it uses to infect devices called Lovely Wallpaper.
The ExpensiveWall malware has infected at least 50 apps and was been downloaded between 1 million and 4.2 million times before the affected apps were removed, CheckPoint reported citing Google Play data. It was downloaded a million times, but it showed that even Google's best safeguards aren't able to keep malware away 100% of the time.
Daniel Padon, one of the researchers at Check Point said that the massive amount of apps were a malicious campaign which infiltrated Google Play Store. Most probably, this time the malicious app has infected more than 5,000 devices before it was removed four days later. And this is because this month they've been dealing with over 50 apps that were infested with malware.
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