Google Play app with 500,000 downloads sent user contacts to Russian server

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An associate degreedroid app with quite 500,000 downloads from Google Play has been caught hosting malware that sneakily sends users’ contacts to an attacker-controlled server and signs up users to dear subscriptions, a security firm reported.


The app, named Color Message, was still obtainable on Google servers at the time this post was being prepared. Google removed it more than 3 hours once I asked the corporate for comment.



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“Joker”—the malware that signs you up for pricey services—floods automaton markets

Ostensibly, Color Message enhances text electronic communication by doing things such as adding emojis and obstruction junk texts. however in step with researchers at Pradeo Security same on Thursday, Color Message contains a family of malware referred to as Joker, that has infected several automaton devices within the past.

“Our analysis of the colour Message application through the Pradeo Security engine shows that it accesses users’ contact list and exfiltrates it over the network,” the company’s diary post stated. “Simultaneously, the appliance mechanically subscribes to unwanted paid services unbeknownst to users. to create it tough to be removed, the application has the potential to cover its icon once installed.”


Pradeo’s discovery marks solely the newest instance of Google hosting malicious wares that hurt users of its automaton mobile operational system. whereas the corporate scans apps for malware and frequently removes immense numbers of submissions proactively, there’s no shortage of apps Google misses. The frequent reports of scoundrel apps obtainable through Play tarnishes an otherwise clean security record for the mobile OS, a minimum of as it’s available on Google-developed element devices.


Joker falls into a class of malware referred to as Fleeceware. It simulates clicks and intercepts text messages in a shot to sneakily subscribe users to paid premium services they ne'er meant to buy. Joker is difficult to notice owing to the little footprint of its code additionally the} techniques its developers use to stash it. Over the past few years, the malware has been found lurking in many apps downloaded by several people.


Besides causation users’ contacts to a server that seems to be settled in Russia and subscribing to unwanted services, Color Message also fails to disclose the extent of the actions the app will perform on users’ devices.


As usual, automaton users ought to be prudent before transfering apps. a decent rule of thumb is to download apps only if they supply a real profit so to decide on ones created by notable companies, when possible. folks ought to conjointly scan the user reviews to visualize if there are reports of malice.

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