Security researchers have discovered a set of Android apps that contain sophisticated malware.
The 29 apps, which range from things like power management apps to horoscope apps, were found to be infected by Trojan malware that controls the app remotely after gaining access to the victim’s phone, according to We Live Security, a blog run by IT firm ESET.
After ESET notified Google of the issue, the malicious apps were removed from the Play Store.
However, they are believed to have been installed by almost 30,000 users.
The Trojan virus was discovered to have affected a range of apps, including one called ‘Free Daily Horoscope’ and ‘Power Manager’ on the Play Store.
‘Unlike the increasingly prevalent malicious apps relying purely on impersonating legitimate financial institutions and displaying bogus login screens, these apps belong to the category of sophisticated mobile banking malware with complex functionality and a heavy focus on stealth,’ We Live Security wrote in a blog post.
Researchers believe the malicious apps were created by a single attacker or group.
The apps are able to intercept call logs, download apps and bypass two-factor authentication to redirect text messages.
They’re able to do this by obtaining the HTML code of apps on your device and then inserting fake phishing forms in the apps.
As a result, it gives ‘the victim very little chance to notice something is amiss,’ ESET explained.
In some cases, the apps display an error message after they’re downloaded, saying that the app is incompatible with your device and has been removed.
However, the apps are still downloaded on the victim’s device, hiding in the background.
In some cases, they continue to work as normal, displaying relevant information that otherwise appears normal.
The main goal of the malware is to impersonate a user’s banking apps, obtain their credentials and steal money.
But ESET didn’t mention any cases where the malware had achieved this.
WHICH APPS WERE FOUND TO HAVE MALWARE?
ESET discovered that 29 apps were infected with malware, including:
1. Power Manager
2. Astro Plus
3. Master Cleaner – CPU Booster
4. Master Clean – Power Booster
5. Super Boost Cleaner
6. Super Fast Cleaner
7. Daily Horoscope For All Zodiac Signs
8. Daily Horoscope Free – Horoscope Compatibility
9. Phone Booster – Clean Master
10. Speed Cleaner – CPU Cooler
11. Ultra Phone Booster
12. Free Daily Horoscope 2019
13. Free Daily Horoscope Plus – Astrology Online
14. Phone Power Booster
15. Ultra Cleaner – Power Boost
16. Master Cleaner – CPU Booster
17. Daily Horoscope – Astrological Forecast
18. Speed Cleaner – CPU Cooler
19. Horoscope 2018
20. Meu Horóscopo
21. Master Clean – Power Booster
22. Boost Your Phone
23. Phone Cleaner – Booster, Optimizer
24. Clean Master Pro Booster 2018
25. Clean Master – Booster Pro
26. BoostFX. Android cleaner
27. Daily Horoscope
28. Daily Horoscope
29. Personal Horoscope
Researchers said the apps don’t use any ‘advanced tricks’ to continue infecting the device, so they can be easily removed.
Victims can simply uninstall them by navigating to Settings, then General and clicking on Application manager/Apps, ESET noted.
‘We also advise you to check your bank account for suspicious transactions and consider changing your internet banking password/PIN code,’ the researchers said.
ESET also added that Android users should make sure to only download apps from Google Play, making sure to check how many times they’ve been downloaded, as well as their ratings.
They recommend users pay attention to what permissions they grant a particular app once it’s downloaded on their device.