Discovered and detailed on July 1 by malware analysts at Dr. Web, the applications, described as “thieving Trojans,” spread like harmless software and have been installed nearly 6 million times. Unlike some previous cases where malicious Android apps were discovered, the apps in this case all provided legitimate services such as photo editing and framing, exercise and training, horoscopes, and junk file deletion. .
Applications included PIP Photo with up to 5 million installs; Photo processing with up to 500,000 installations; Waste Cleaner, Daily Horoscope and Inwell Fitness with up to 100,000 installations; and App Lock Keep with up to 50,000 installations. Lockit Master, Horoscope Pi and App Lock Manager complete the list.
Typically between apps, users were offered the option to turn off in-app ads by logging into their Facebook account. Analysts noted that “the ads inside some apps were indeed present and this maneuver was intended to further encourage owners of Android devices to take the required actions.”
While those behind the apps targeted Facebook accounts, they may have targeted accounts on other services. “The attackers could easily have changed the settings of the Trojans and ordered them to load the web page of another legitimate service,” analysts said. “They could even have used a completely bogus login form located on a phishing site. Thus, Trojans could have been used to steal the usernames and passwords of any service.
Google has yet to make a public statement on the apps. Ars Technica announced on Friday that the apps had been removed from the store. A Google spokesperson told Ars Technica that developers of the apps were also banned.
Image : Dr Web
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