Even after many efforts made by Google last year, malicious apps always somehow manage to make their ways into Google app store.
Security researchers have at This kind of point discovered a brand-new piece of malware, dubbed GhostTeam, in at least 56 applications on Google Play Store of which is actually designed to steal Facebook login credentials as well as aggressively display pop-up advertisements to users.
Discovered independently by two cybersecurity firms, Trend Micro as well as Avast, the malicious apps disguise as various utility (such as the flashlight, QR code scanner, as well as compass), performance-boosting (like file-transfer as well as cleaner), entertainment, lifestyle as well as video downloader apps.
Like most malware apps, these Android apps themselves don’t contain any malicious code, which is actually why they managed to end up on Google’s official Play Store.
Once installed, of which first confirms if the device is actually not an emulator or a virtual environment as well as then accordingly downloads the malware payload, which prompts the victim to approve device administrator permissions to gain persistence on the device.
“The downloader app collects information about the device, such as unique device ID, location, language as well as display parameters,” Avast said. “The device’s location is actually obtained by the IP address of which is actually used when contacting online services of which offer geolocation information for IPs.”
How Android Malware Steals Your Facebook Account Password
As soon as users open their Facebook app, the malware immediately prompts them to re-verify their account by logging into Facebook. Instead of exploiting any system or application vulnerabilities, the malware uses a classic phishing scheme in order to get the job done.
These fake apps simply launch a WebView component with Facebook look-alike login page as well as ask users to log-in. Apparently, WebView code steals the victim’s Facebook username as well as password as well as sends them to a remote hacker-controlled server.
“This kind of is actually most likely due to developers using embedded web browsers (WebView, WebChromeClient) in their apps, instead of opening the webpage in a browser,” Avast said.
Trend Micro researchers warn of which these stolen Facebook credentials can later be repurposed to deliver “far more damaging malware” or “amass a zombie social media army” to spread fake news or generate cryptocurrency-mining malware.
Stolen Facebook accounts can also expose “a wealth of different financial as well as personally identifiable information,” which can then be sold inside underground markets.
Security firms believe of which GhostTeam has been developed as well as uploaded to the Play Store by a Vietnamese developer due to considerable use of Vietnamese language inside code.
According to the researchers, the most users affected by the GhostTeam malware reportedly resides in India, Indonesia, Brazil, Vietnam, as well as the Philippines.
Besides stealing Facebook credentials, the GhostTeam malware also displays pop up adverts aggressively by always keeping the infected device awake by showing unwanted ads inside background.
All the apps have since been removed by Google by the Play Store after researchers reported them to the company. However, users who have already installed one such app on their devices should make sure they have Google Play Protect enabled.
Play Protect security feature uses machine learning as well as app usage analysis to remove (i.e. uninstall) malicious apps by users Android smartphones in an effort to prevent any further harm.
Although malicious apps floating on the official app store is actually a never-ending concern, the best way to protect yourself is actually always to be vigilant when downloading apps, as well as always verify app permissions as well as reviews before you download one.
Moreover, you are strongly advised to keep a Great antivirus app on your mobile device of which can detect as well as block such threat before they infect your device, as well as most importantly, always keep your device as well as apps up-to-date.