Malware Dropper Found in 9 Malicious Android Apps on the Official Google Play store

The new investigation of the cybersecurity firm Check Point Research (CPR), a malware dropper has been spreading through nine malicious apps on the official Google Play store.

However, the analyst pronounced all the information regarding the dropper, it was dubbed Clast82, and it mainly uses a set of methods so that it can evade all kinds of detection by Google Play Protect detection.

The dropper initially completes the evaluation stage fortunately and later it changes from a non-malicious payload to the AlienBot Banker and MRAT.

The AlienBot malware family is a Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS) for Android devices, this malware generally enables a remote threat actor to inject malicious code into authorized financial apps. 

Findings and the timeline

The threat actor obtains access to victims’ accounts and ultimately constrains their device. After taking full control over the device, the threat actor gains the capacity to control certain functions.

While the timeline that has been declared by the cybersecurity researchers are given below:-

  • January 27th: First  discovery
  • January 28th: Report to Google
  • February 9th: Google-authenticated that all Clast82 apps were eliminated from the Google Play Store.

Affected apps

The android apps that are affected were accounted for approximately 15000 installs, and here’s the list of affected apps mentioned below:-

  • BeatPlayer
  • Cake VPN
  • Two versions of eVPN
  • QR/Barcode Scanner MAX
  • Music Player
  • Pacific VPN
  • QRecorder
  • tooltipnattorlibrary

Bypassing detection

In this evaluation period, the investigators found that the configuration sent from the Firebase C&C includes an “enable” parameter. However, this parameter was not true and will only turn to “true” when Google announced the Clast82 malware on Google Play.

This malware has a special ability to hide very well, as the payload abandoned by Clast82 does not start from Google Play. That’s why the scanning of applications before assent to review would not really stop the installation of the ill-disposed payload. 

Experts’ recommendation

Cybersecurity experts have affirmed some tips to protect users, Harmony Mobile delivers complete protection for the mobile workforce by implementing a wide range of abilities that are simple to deploy, manage and scale. 

This Harmony Mobile provides clear protection for all mobile vectors of offense, and it also includes the download of malicious applications along with malware embedded in them.

Apart from this, the analysts reported the malicious apps to Google on January 29, a day after its detection. And on February 9, Google had reinforced that the malware had been excluded from the Play Store.

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