Even after so many efforts by Google like launching bug bounty program and preventing apps from using Android accessibility services, malicious applications somehow manage to get into Play Store and infect people with malicious software.
The same happened once again when security researchers discovered at least 85 applications in Google Play Store that were designed to steal credentials from users of Russian-based social network VK.com and were successfully downloaded millions of times.
The most popular of all masqueraded as a gaming app with more than a million downloads. When this app was initially submitted in March 2017, it was just a gaming app without any malicious code, according to a blog post published Tuesday by Kaspersky Lab.
However, after waiting for more than seven months, the malicious actors behind the app updated it with information-stealing capabilities in October 2017.
Besides this gaming app, the Kaspersky researchers found 84 such apps on Google Play Store—most of them were uploaded to the Play Store in October 2017 and stealing credentials for VK.com users.
Other popular apps that were highly popular among users include seven apps with between 10,000 and 100,000 installations, nine with between 1,000 and 10,000 installations, and rest of all had fewer than 1,000 installations.
Here’s How Cyber Criminals Steal Your Account Credentials:
Since these apps looked like they came from VK.com – for listening to music or for monitoring user page visits, requiring a user to login into his/her account through a standard login page did not look suspicious at all.
The stolen credentials were then encrypted and uploaded to a remote server controlled by the attackers.
“The interesting thing is that although most of these malicious apps had a described functionality, a few of them were slightly different—they also used malicious JS code from the OnPageFinished method, but not only for extracting credentials but for uploading them too,” Kaspersky said.
Researchers believe that the cybercriminals use stolen credentials mostly for promoting groups in VK.com, by silently adding users to promote various groups and increase their popularity by doing so, since they received complaints from some infected users that their accounts had been silently added to unknown groups.
The cybercriminals behind these apps had been publishing their malicious apps on the Play Store for more than two years, so all they had to do is modify their apps to evade detection.
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