Android users face a threat to be faced as cyber-thieves attempt a new deceptive way to steal personal data including full access to banking services.
This latter threat is particularly frightening because it uses a relatively new tactic to hack devices and fill them with malware to steal money. As most Android users are aware, Google has strict rules about what apps it allows on its Play Store with programs immediately blocked if they are found to be violating instructions or contain any form of malicious code.
Internet thieves are clearly aware of this and have now come up with a new way to install their viruses on Android devices. And as the ThreatFabric team discovered, hackers are now uploading apps to the Play Store, which adhere to all of Google’s rules and don’t contain any malicious code.
However, once installed, a message pops up on the screen warning that the app needs a dynamic update. Instead of this upgrade coming via the official Play Store, phone owners are taken to third-party websites where the malware is then deposited directly onto the device.
With this so-called “dropper” tactic, Google is unlikely to detect or remove fake apps from its Play Store.
To make matters worse, the latest set of dangerous apps have been found to install Sharkbot and Vultur on phones, with full power to steal bank details. Once this data is in the hands of hackers, it can be used to steal funds and conduct transactions without the owner’s permission.
ThreatFabric says users in the UK, Netherlands, Italy, and Germany have all been targeted by these attacks, with hackers having a high level of success.
According to Threat Fabric, these new campaigns have been very active in the past few months, reaching thousands of potential fraud victims.
In fact, it is believed that the latest set of “Dropper” apps has already been downloaded more than 100,000 times which makes this a serious problem.
Before downloading any apps, it’s a good idea to check reviews and look for negative ones.
Once installed, be careful about updating the app especially if the app starts directing you to websites that have no affiliation with the Play Store.
The news of this new attack comes just a week after it was announced that Google had banned 16 popular apps from its Play Store for violating the rules.