Android users would be wise to remember that just because an app appears in the official Google Play store doesn’t mean that it should be considered entirely trustworthy.
Researchers at Trend Micro have described how they recently uncovered a total of 36 apps in the official Android app marketplace that secretly harvested the details of users, tracked their location, and plagued them with unwanted ads.
And what did these apps have in common? They were all posing as seemingly useful utilities that would scan for security threats, clean-up unwanted junk files to enhance system performance, or save battery life.
Once the apps (which have names such as Security Defender, Security Keeper, Smart Security, and Advanced Boost. One fake app even had the temerity to pose as a tool from Avast, a well-known legitimate security vendor) are running, users find themselves deluged with fake security notifications telling them that subsequent app they install are suspicious, a vulnerability has been spotted, or that “10.0 GB files are being wasted.”
Ironically, the bogus alerts are likely to have tricked Android users that the fake security app they have installed is serving a useful purpose.
But behind the scenes, the apps are collecting information from the device about the user, and even their specific location, in order to bombard its victims with targeted adverts. Snaffled data includes the user’s Android ID, IMSI, OS version, model and brand of device, language, location details, screen size, and other installed apps.
Interestingly, the scary security warnings and pop-up warnings are programmed not to appear on Google Nexus 6P, Xiaomi MI 4LTE, ZTE N958St and LGE LG-H525n Android devices. My guess is that this is because whoever created the apps either did not want them to bug their own devices or (more likely) felt that this (Read more...)
This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog post authored by Graham Cluley. Read the original post at: The State of Security