Thursday, February 22, 2024

Fake Android Apps that Impersonate as Security Applications Found in Play store with 6000,000 Installations

Newly discovered Fake Android Apps in Google play store that posed as offering security proving unwanted ads and other potential cyber threats to installed user device and collection a lot of sensitive information.

In this case, 35 Malicious Fake Android Apps discovered in official Google Play Store that posed as security apps but it doesn’t contain any of security future.

A lot of these fake security apps are impersonating as security application and show malicious ads to generating revenue.

All the discovered Fake Android Apps installed over 6 Million times in the user devices and these apps are being under the radar for last few years.

Also not all the apps were downloaded manually but some of these applications are downloaded and installed by bots to post positive reviews and improve their respective app’s ratings.

Fake Android Apps
35 Apps that offer Fake security prevention

It Mimics as very primitive security checkers relying on a few trivial hardcoded rules and eventually it flag legitimate security apps as malicious.

Also, it creates false alerts to victims as your mobile under potential risk state by malware which actually doesn’t perform any malicious activities.

According to ESET Researchers, among these 35 apps, only a handful stand out for their specific features: one app is not completely free as it offers a paid upgrade; one app has implemented a primitive, easily bypassed, app-locker manager; another app flags other apps from this group as dangerous by default.

Fake Android Apps

How the Fake Android Apps Mimic as Real Security Apps

All the flagged fake security apps are posed as actual mobile security solutions and it staying under the radar to avoid detection and their app detection mechanisms easy to bypass.

These fake security  apps are 4 categories that contain  Security-mimicking functionality

Package name whitelist & blacklist 

Its Whitelisting Popular apps such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Skype and others. its blacklist few apps.

Permissions blacklist

All apps (including legitimate ones) are flagged if they require some of the listed permissions that are considered dangerous, such as send and receive SMS, access location data, access the camera, etc.

 Source whitelist

All apps but those from the official Android store, Google Play, are flagged – even if they are completely benign.

 Activities blacklist

All apps that contain any of the blacklisted activities: that is, parts of applications. This mainly concerns some ad-displaying activities.

You can Refer the ESET for IOC’s and Fake AntiVirus Apps Name.


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BALAJI is an Ex-Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.

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