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Malware identified across 32 Android apps, possibly affecting over 9 million users

Posted: , by Maxwell R.

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Malware identified across 32 Android apps, possibly affecting over 9 million users
Mobile security firm Lookout has identified a number of apps which have been compromised by a malware program called BadNews.

BadNews disguises itself as an advertising network. The program has the ability to send fake news messages and gathers personal information like phone number, device ID. Moreover, the app has the ability to send notifications prompting users to download more applications.

Users infected by BadNews would also be pushed premium SMS messages. What is interesting is how the malware made it to the scene. Since it is not native to the app, it does not go through the same integrity check as the app itself.

The 32 apps are listed below and have been removed from the Google Play store. The developer accounts associated with them have been suspended while Google looks into things. It is possible that some (or all) of the developers were not aware of the third-party nature of this problem. BadNews is designed to look like a regular advertising SDK, so it is entirely possible that some of these apps were developed with no ill-will in mind.

The good news in all this is that out of the worldwide Android user base, only between 2 and 9 million appear to be at risk, so the odds are in your favor that this will not be an issue for you. A little over half of the apps are Russian, the rest are English, and they cover a wide variety of genres from games to wallpapers to dictionaries. If any of these apps are on your device, you will want to make sure your operating system is prevented from accepting installs from “unknown sources” and you might want to consider employing some type of mobile security.

source: Lookout

Malware identified across 32 Android apps, possibly affecting over 9 million users

59 Comments
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posted on 19 Apr 2013, 20:45 25

1. syedzain (Posts: 175; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


So for the open source lol

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 20:54 18

2. sorcio46 (Posts: 435; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)


Which part of Open Source has to deal with this?

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 22:21 8

11. lyndon420 (Posts: 4555; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


So with this I guess Windows is open? Windows has had the largest amount of malware and malicious viruses.

How are these malicious things being created? On a mac? On a Windows computer? A linux system? An Android tablet?

posted on 20 Apr 2013, 02:05 2

32. Edmund (Posts: 656; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)


The fact you can use some dodgy SDK to develop software and then have it published in the google play store, despite the existence of malware, is pretty worrying ??

posted on 20 Apr 2013, 07:01 5

42. sorcio46 (Posts: 435; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)


It happens almost everyday for almost all the apps in the App Store that stole datas from the users but there they're not called "malware"... marketing....

posted on 20 Apr 2013, 09:57 3

47. papss (unregistered)


you mean what google does with their search engine? Oh that's right, lets point blame or a deflector at another fault and not the one we are speaking about. typical fanboy.

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 22:37 5

13. gallison1983 (Posts: 47; Member since: 19 Dec 2012)


Nothing. There is nothing about open source that makes is more or less attractive for attack. It's the open market and third party market for apps that brings on the malware, my friend. Kudos to Google for removing malware. I would like to see them step it up. As the main curator for Android apps, Google owes it to their user base to protect those who don't know what they are doing.

posted on 20 Apr 2013, 12:20 2

50. sats.mine2k4 (banned) (Posts: 208; Member since: 10 Aug 2012)


So you never used a PC did you?

posted on 20 Apr 2013, 14:58 2

52. akki20892 (Posts: 3901; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


Damn,
Hate this Malware.

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 21:09 3

3. kozza3 (Posts: 702; Member since: 17 Oct 2012)


omg omg omg i have to download lookout nnnnnnoooooowwwww!!!! /s

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 21:15 7

4. moronman66 (Posts: 162; Member since: 09 Jan 2012)


Why is an app called "Savage Knife" the most downloaded here?

posted on 20 Apr 2013, 07:21 6

44. blingblingthing (Posts: 538; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)


Who downloads this crap? Savage knife Lol?

posted on 21 Apr 2013, 12:12

58. bluescreen (Posts: 154; Member since: 22 Nov 2012)


appearntly alot of people wanting to let out their inner serial killer without going to jail?

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 21:17 4

5. FlushGordon (unregistered)


In Soviet Russia......

posted on 20 Apr 2013, 02:03 2

31. minteke (Posts: 30; Member since: 27 Jul 2012)


Flush your history knowledge and reset it. There is no such thing; you must spent the last quarter of the century in a cave.

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 21:32 21

6. WakaFlakaD (Posts: 489; Member since: 30 Apr 2011)


Good thing I had switched to iPhone...well at least less virus/malwares =)

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 21:49 19

7. deathgod (Posts: 122; Member since: 23 Nov 2011)


If you switched to an iPhone because of something like this, it says alot about you....

Personally, I've never had a problem with malware/viruses since I've had an android device (Nexus S -> Galaxy Nexus). I'm running Lookout but common sense has prevented me from having issues with rogue apps. But I guess what they say is true "Common sense isn't too common anymore" :)

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 21:55 16

8. WakaFlakaD (Posts: 489; Member since: 30 Apr 2011)


Well of course not lol. I got sick of Android for now(if you click on my profile, those are the phones that I had) I never even bothered to install Lookout. I mostly just use whatever apps I can download, except the obvious suspicious ones. I had been rooting all my Android phone since the Vibrant. Don't thumb me down simply cuz I mentioned iPhone lol =)

I just need something fresh and iPhone for T-Mobile came out perfectly. Next up is the S4

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 22:12 13

9. lyndon420 (Posts: 4555; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


To you it's fresh yes, but to everyone else the iphone UI has become stale. Don't kid yourself into thinking that you're safe from malicious activities because you changed over to fruitware.

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 22:21 12

10. WakaFlakaD (Posts: 489; Member since: 30 Apr 2011)


Of course malicious activities will always be around as long as there are revenues can be made. Honesty, a fully jailbroken iPhone looks quite nice. I don't know. I guess I am not too fancy about phones these days anymore. I mean nothing new(impressive) come out except hardware. Right now, whatever works, then works. Yeah on an Android, you can download as many launchers as you want, but its still somewhat similar. I guess to my mind, a widget is a widget. A button is a button.

but yeah I am using the iPhone 5 REALLY cuz I got it for $400 brand new on Craigslist. by the time I sell it in 2 months, I will still get some money back, haha so that works for me

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 22:25 13

12. WakaFlakaD (Posts: 489; Member since: 30 Apr 2011)


Oh iPhone...thumbs down lol

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 23:20 2

21. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Oooo....iPhone eh? THUMBS DOWN

If you're still using Android then THUMBS UP
If you switched to Windows Phone then THUMBS UP
If you switched to BlackBerry then THUMBS UP

So, THUMBS DOWN for you for switching to iPhone! lol xD

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 23:26 3

23. WakaFlakaD (Posts: 489; Member since: 30 Apr 2011)


Haha, I will be back to the Galaxy family soon! =) As we all phone junkies, we constantly switch different phones. It's the norm for us.

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 23:34 2

26. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


I was just kidding, don't know why all the thumbs down, same as the comment #16, they thumb me down, I guess they're not friendly at all.

So new lesson in PA, do not ask anyone about the phone's problem in PA!

posted on 20 Apr 2013, 18:38 2

55. Topcat488 (Posts: 1396; Member since: 29 Sep 2012)


I've carried a (iphone and the OG - Note) for a couple of years now, best of both, of the best operating systems for ME... Why hate when for me both are great. Peace :)

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 23:33 14

25. nerdylish (Posts: 51; Member since: 13 Apr 2013)


Oh, lame comment, eh?
THUMBS DOWN for you! xD

posted on 20 Apr 2013, 07:27

46. blingblingthing (Posts: 538; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)


Also. Android OS is more secure then Apple iOS. It is just that Google seems to have laxed on the app approval scene.

posted on 20 Apr 2013, 10:00 2

48. papss (unregistered)


thanks for making me laugh

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 22:37 4

14. rgxVOiD (Posts: 440; Member since: 30 Aug 2012)


So the only chance that you'll end up downloading these app is that you're either Russian, fat or stupid

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 22:45 3

15. PhoenixWright (Posts: 102; Member since: 11 Feb 2013)


I've lived with Windows for more than 14 years now. Then I've had Android for a good time too.
I can certainly 99.99% GUARANTEE THAT THE BEST FREE ANTI-VIRUS AND ANTI-MALWARE APPLICATION IS CALLED "BRAIN" AND IF YOU PURCHASE IT NOW WITHIN THE FIRST 20 MINUTES, I'LL ADD IN "COMMON SENSE" TO ITS DATABASE. It works on all devices and problems you have. Even with your wife, your neighbors, and everything even your kitchen sink.

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