Google Removes Malware-Infected Apps, 3 Million Users at Risk • The Register

Google has removed 60 malware-infected apps from its Play Store, installed by more than 3.3 million bettors, which can be used for all kinds of criminal activity, including credential theft, spying and even stealing money from the victims.

Zscaler’s ThreatLabZ and Maxime Ingrao, security researcher at fraud protection firm Evina, discovered the malware-packed downloader apps, including Joker, Facestealer, Coper and Autolycos — the latter is a new family, according to Ingrao. who named and discovered Autolycos in eight different apps with over three million downloads on Android devices.

New strain of malware, similar to Joker, steals SMS messages as they are downloaded and unwittingly subscribes users to – and charges them for using – premium wireless app protocol services, Ingrao tweeted.


This spyware is designed to steal SMS messages, contact lists and device information, and to subscribe the victim to premium WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) services.

“It fetches a JSON on address C2:,” he explained. It then executes the urls, during some steps it executes the urls on a remote browser and returns the result to include in queries. This allows him not to have a Webview and to be more discreet. »

Additionally, the scammers created Facebook and Instagram ads to promote the fake apps, Ingrao renamed.

Malicious apps include:

  • Vlog Star Video Editor — 1 million downloads
  • Creative 3D Launcher — 1 million downloads
  • Wow Beauty Camera — 100,000 downloads
  • Gif Emoji Keyboard — 100,000 downloads
  • Freeglow Camera — 5,000 downloads
  • Coco Camera v1.1 — 1,000 downloads
  • Funny Camera — 500,000 downloads
  • Razer Keyboard & Theme — 50,000 downloads

Joker, Facestealer and Coper resurface

Meanwhile, Zscaler threat hunters said this week that Google removed 52 additional malware-infested apps from the Play Store, and 50 of them were used to deploy Joker, which has been a persistent problem. for Android devices. They also discovered Facestealer and Coper malware in two other rogue apps, and these were also booted from the online market.

Joker spreading apps have been downloaded more than 300,000 times, according to security researchers Viral Gandhi and Himanshu Sharma, who provided a technical analysis of the malware family’s three payloads and listed all 50 joker downloaders on a ThreatLabZ blog post.

“Despite public awareness of this particular malware, it continues to end up in the official Google app store by regularly changing the malware’s trace signatures, including code updates, execution methods and payload recovery techniques,” Gandhi and Sharma wrote.

Once downloaded, the Joker malware steals SMS messages, contact lists and device information and unknowingly subscribes the victim to premium services.

“Most often, threat actors disguise the Joker malware in messaging apps that force users to grant escalated access permissions by allowing them to serve as the default SMS app on the user’s phone” , the threat hunters noted. “The malware uses these advanced permissions to perform its operations. »

Additionally, Zscaler discovered that Facestealer was hiding in the now-deleted cam.vanilla.snap app on Google Play Store, which had 5,000 downloads. This malware targets Facebook users through fake Facebook login pages to steal credentials. And lastly, security team also discovered Coper banking Trojan disguised as Unicc QR Scanner application.

“Once downloaded, this application releases the Coper malware infection which is capable of intercepting and sending SMS text messages, making USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) requests to send messages, recording keystrokes, lock/unlock the device screen, perform excessive attacks, prevent uninstalls, and generally allow attackers to take control and execute commands on an infected device over a connection remotely with a C2 server, Gandhi and Sharma wrote. ®

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