Play Store has been invaded by 4 malware families. According to ThreatFabric researchers, 300,000 Android smartphones have installed an infected app in the last 4 months. This malware is designed to steal all the passwords, IDs and bank details of the victims.
In its November 2021 report, ThreatFabric, a Dutch IT security company, cautions Android smartphone users installing apps through the Play Store. “In just 4 months, 4 main families of Android malware have been deployed through the Google Play Store, leading to more than 300,000 infections through various applications,” announces ThreatFabric.
To deceive the surveillance of Internet users, hackers have hidden viruses in seemingly harmless applications. ThreatFabric experts have spotted document scanners, QR code readers, physical activity monitors, and dedicated cryptocurrency apps, among others. To bypass Google’s security measures, hackers install malware remotely once the application has been installed on users’ smartphones. The application claims to update it to push users to install the virus. So Play Protect is ineffective.
Malware seeks to drain bank accounts of Android users
The first category of malware detected by the researchers is called Anasta. This sophisticated banking Trojan managed to infiltrate 200,000 Android phones in just four months. Using an application to scan a QR code, the malware stole the bank details of 50,000 users.
Researchers have also detected the presence of a family of viruses called Alien. Active for more than a year, the malware essentially works like Anasta. It targets users’ bank accounts. Once recovered, the victims’ bank details are sold to cybercriminals on the dark web or used to implement attacks.
Finally, ThreatFabric detected Hydra and Ermac, two malware programs that target both banking applications and users of a cryptocurrency exchange, including Binance, Coinbase, and Bitstamp. Among the objectives, we also find PayPal, ING or Credit du Nord.
Also read: A mysterious malware called Tardigrade currently spying on companies
“The Google Play Store is the most attractive platform for malware,” warns Dario Durando, a malware specialist at ThreatFabric. All the infected applications were quickly removed by Google, says the expert. To avoid falling into the net of malware, Dario Durando recommends “always look for updates, always be very careful before granting accessibility services privileges” and “be careful with applications that ask to install additional software”.
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