Android Malware Using Fake App to Spread Via WhatsApp Discovered on Google Play: Check Point Research

A brand new Android malware has been found that existed as an app on Google Play and is claimed to unfold by way of WhatsApp conversations. Known as FlixOnline, the app pretended to permit customers to view world Netflix content material. It was, nevertheless, designed to observe the consumer’s WhatsApp notifications and ship computerized replies to their incoming messages with the content material it receives from the hacker. Google pulled the app instantly from the Play retailer after the corporate was reached out to. Nevertheless, it was downloaded tons of of occasions earlier than it obtained eliminated.

Researchers at risk intelligence agency Test Level Analysis discovered the FlixOnline app on Google Play. When the app is downloaded from the Play retailer and put in, the underlying malware begins a service that requests “Overlay,” “Battery Optimisation Ignore,” and “Notification” permissions, the researchers mentioned in a press be aware.

The aim of acquiring these permissions is believed to permit the malicious app to create new home windows on prime of different apps, cease the malware from being shut down by the machine’s battery optimisation routine, and acquire entry to all notifications.

As a substitute of enabling any official service, the FlixOnline app screens the consumer’s WhatsApp notifications and sends an auto-reply message to all WhatsApp conversations that lures victims with free entry to Netflix. The message additionally comprises a hyperlink that would permit hackers to achieve consumer info.

The “wormable” malware, which signifies that it might probably unfold by itself, may unfold additional by way of malicious hyperlinks and will even extort customers by threatening to ship delicate WhatsApp knowledge or conversations to all their contacts.

Test Level Analysis notified Google concerning the existence of the FlixOnline app and the main points of its analysis. Google rapidly eliminated the app from the Play retailer upon receiving the main points. Nevertheless, the researchers discovered that the app was downloaded practically 500 occasions over the course of two months, earlier than it went offline.

The researchers additionally consider that whereas the actual app in query was faraway from Google Play after it was reported, the malware may return by one other comparable app sooner or later.

“The truth that the malware was capable of be disguised so simply and finally bypass Play Retailer’s protections raises some severe crimson flags. Though we stopped one marketing campaign of the malware, the malware household is probably going right here to remain. The malware could return hidden in a distinct app,” mentioned Aviran Hazum, Supervisor of Cell Intelligence at Test Level, in a ready quote.

The affected customers are suggested to take away the malicious app from their machine and alter their passwords.

You will need to be aware whereas the malware variant out there by the FlixOnline app was designed to unfold by way of WhatsApp, the moment messaging app would not embrace any specific loophole that allowed the circulation of malicious content material. As a substitute, the researchers discovered that it was Google Play that wasn’t capable of limit entry to the app at first look — regardless of utilizing a mixture of automated instruments and preloaded protections together with Play Shield.

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