9.3 million Android apps with trojan viruses were downloaded

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Protecting network security and user privacy is Huawei’s priority. We welcome all third-party oversight and feedback to ensure we deliver on this commitment. We will continue to collaborate closely with our partners, and at the same time, employ the most advanced and innovative technologies to safeguard our users’ privacy.” Trojans (besides the definition that you might be more familiar with) is an app that hides its true purpose by masquerading as a regular app. But once the app is installed it unleashes malware that infects the phone allowing a bad actor to steal personal data and even take control of the device. According to a fresh report, researchers at Dr. Web Anti-virus discovered a large malware attack on Huawei’s App Gallery app storefront that led victims to unwittingly install dangerous malware on their phones. The 190 infected Android trojan apps were installed approximately 190 million times

Huawei has published a comment in response to this news, which reads, “The built-in security technology in AppGallery quickly identified the possible risk in these apps. We’re working with affected developers to troubleshoot their apps right now. Once we have confirmed that the apps are safe to use, they will be re-listed on AppGallery so that customers can re-download and enjoy their favourite apps.” “Huawei’s first priority is network security and user privacy. We encourage any and all third-party oversight and input in order to guarantee that we meet our commitment. We will continue to work closely with our partners while also utilising the most cutting-edge and creative technologies to protect our consumers’ privacy.”

Highlights

  • Drive School Simulator, one of the apps carrying malware in Huawei’s App Gallery – 190 Android apps with trojan malware were installed 9.3 million times. Drive School Simulator, one of the apps carrying malware in Huawei’s App Gallery. Now here’s the thing. Even though Huawei removed the infected apps from the App Gallery, if you installed any of them on your phone, it can still be a major problem making your data vulnerable to getting stolen. The three infected apps with the largest number of installs include:

  • The 190 infected Android trojan apps were installed approximately 9.3 million times. Dr. Web says that the malware has been identified as ‘Android.Cynos.7.origin’ and is believed to be a modified version of the Cynos malware that is used to collect personal data from victims’ handsets. The researchers ended up alerting Huawei about the trojans and Huawei deleted them from the App Gallery.

The report adds that some of the versions of the malware have aggressive functionality. “They send premium SMS, intercept incoming SMS, download and launch extra modules, and download and install other apps.” It obviously is not good to have any of these apps installed on your phone. The version of the trojan found in Huawei’s App Gallery collects personal information about the user and his device and displays ads. As the report notes, right off the bat, you can sense that something is not right since the app asks for permissions usually not associated with a gaming app such as the ability to make and manage phone calls. This gives the trojan the possibility to access certain information.

If you have any of these apps residing on your Huawei phone, uninstall them ASAP. You can check out the names of all 190 infected apps by tapping on this link. The infected apps can spy on SMS messages, and according to the report from Dr. Web, “The Android.Cynos.7.origin is one of the modifications of the Cynos program module. This module can be integrated into Android apps to monetize them. This platform has been known since at least 2014.” These trojan apps can collect user’s personal data and information about their device and send it to a remote server

Once permission is granted, the app sends certain information to a remote server including the user’s phone number, the device location, some of the specs belonging to the user’s device, and according to the report, “Various mobile network parameters, such as the network code and mobile country code; also, GSM cell ID and international GSM location area code.” The infected apps have already been removed from Huawei’s App Gallery app store. Dr. Web explains the problem with trojan malware apps targeting children. “At first glance, a mobile phone number leak may seem like an insignificant problem. Yet in reality, it can seriously harm users, especially given the fact that children are the games’ main target audience.”

The research site adds that “Even if the mobile phone number is registered to an adult, downloading a child’s game may highly likely indicate that the child is the one who actually is using the mobile phone. It is very doubtful that parents would want the above data about the phone to be transferred not only to unknown foreign servers but to anyone else in general.”

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