Half Billion Android Users Download Malware from Play Store – Creating fake apps as a means to spread malware is nothing new, but security researchers have discovered that more than half a million users have installed malicious apps masquerading as racing game directly from Google Play Store.
The malicious app was discovered by security researcher Lukas Stefanko of ESET whotweeted that 13 game apps created by the same developer were used to spread malware to Android users. When he first made his discovery public, two of those apps were trending on the Play Store giving them greater visibility.
The app itself was created by developer Luiz O Pinto and before Google removed it from the Play Store, the total of his games had reached 580,000 installs.
Not just racing games
Users who download apps from Play Store think they will get a simple racing game but in reality they receive an app full of bugs and crashes every time they open.
Once someone opens one of the problematic games, the app will download the payload from the registered domain to the app developer in Istanbul who will install the malware in the background and remove the icon.
Until now, it is still unclear what the malicious application does because there is not a single malware scanner that is able to detect what malware will do on the victim’s device. What is clear, the malware will continue to run on the victim’s device every time it is restarted.
This malware also has “full access” to the device’s network traffic allowing the malware creator to steal the victim’s personal data.