google-play-store-malware

Over 200 Apps on Play Store Caught Spying on Android Users Using Facestealer

More than 200 Android apps masquerading as fitness, photo editing, and puzzle apps have been observed distributing spyware called Facestealer to siphon user credentials and other valuable information.

“Similar to Joker, another piece of mobile malware, Facestealer changes its code frequently, thus spawning many variants,” Trend Micro analysts Cifer Fang, Ford Quin, and Zhengyu Dong said in a new report. “Since its discovery, the spyware has continuously beleaguered Google Play.”

Facestealer, first documented by Doctor Web in July 2021, refers to a group of fraudulent apps that invade the official app marketplace for Android with the goal of plundering sensitive data such as Facebook login credentials.

Of the 200 apps, 42 are VPN services, followed by a camera (20) and photo editing applications (13). In addition to harvesting credentials, the apps are also designed to collect Facebook cookies and personally identifiable information associated with a victim’s account.

Additionally, Trend Micro disclosed that it uncovered over 40 rogue cryptocurrency miner apps that target users interested in virtual coins with malware designed to trick users into watching ads and paying for subscription services.

Over 200 Apps on Play Store Caught Spying on Android Users Using Facestealer

Some of the fake crypto apps, such as Cryptomining Farm Your own Coin, take it one step further by also attempting to steal private keys and mnemonic phrases (or seed phrases) that are used to recover access to a cryptocurrency wallet.

To avoid falling victim to such scam apps, it’s recommended that users check negative reviews, verify the legitimacy of the developers, and avoid downloading apps from third-party app stores.

New study analyzes malicious Android apps installed in the wild

The findings come as researchers from NortonLifeLock and Boston University published what they called the “largest on-device study” of potentially harmful apps (PHAs) on Android-based on 8.8 million PHAs installed on over 11.7 million devices between 2019 and 2020.

Over 200 Apps on Play Store Caught Spying on Android Users Using Facestealer

“PHAs persist on Google Play for 77 days on average and 34 days on third-party marketplaces,” the study noted, pointing out the delay between when PHAs are identified and when they are removed, adding 3,553 apps exhibit inter-market migration after being taken down.

Recommended:  SaltStack Salt REST API Arbitrary Command Execution Exploit

On top of that, the research also shows that PHAs linger for a much longer period on average when users switch devices and automatically install the apps when restoring from a backup.

As many as 14,000 PHAs are said to have been transferred to 35,500 new Samsung devices by using the Samsung Smart Switch mobile app, with the apps lasting on the phones for a period of approximately 93 days.

“The Android security model severely limits what mobile security products can do when detecting a malicious app, allowing PHAs to persist for many days on victim devices,” the academics said. “The current warning system employed by mobile security programs is not effective in convincing users to promptly uninstall PHAs.”

Suggest an edit to this article

Go to Cybersecurity Knowledge Base

Got to the Latest Cybersecurity News

Go to Cybersecurity Academy

Go to Homepage

Stay informed of the latest Cybersecurity trends, threats and developments. Sign up for our Weekly Cybersecurity Newsletter Today.

Remember, CyberSecurity Starts With You!

  • Globally, 30,000 websites are hacked daily.
  • 64% of companies worldwide have experienced at least one form of a cyber attack.
  • There were 20M breached records in March 2021.
  • In 2020, ransomware cases grew by 150%.
  • Email is responsible for around 94% of all malware.
  • Every 39 seconds, there is a new attack somewhere on the web.
  • An average of around 24,000 malicious mobile apps are blocked daily on the internet.

Bookmark
RiSec.n0tst3
Connect
Latest posts by RiSec.n0tst3 (see all)
Recommended:  Anonymous Hacked Russian PSCB Commercial Bank and Companies In The Energy Sector
Share the word, let's increase Cybersecurity Awareness as we know it

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

RiSec Captcha 24 − = 17