According to Panda Security, Google’s app store Google Play might have possibly infected up to 300,000 people, and may soon reach up to the millions, 1.2 million in fact. The malware comes from a downloadable app from the Google Play Store.
Once people open one of the apps, a series of images will be shown prompting the user to press enter, or press accept which seems innocent enough, however a barely visibly written service agreement shows up on the screen.
By clicking accept, it allows the app to steal one’s phone number and register it for an SMS service without their consent. A confirmation will be needed to activate the premium service, so the malware will then send an SMS to the person’s number with a special PIN code. The app will be waiting to get the message and once received, it will confirm to take the service.
The WHatsApp messaging software is apparently responsible for stealing the victims’ phone numbers, Panda says. It also forces one to accept to terms of service simply because the close button is impossible to see.
The app has had anywhere from 50,000 and 100,000 downloads says Panda. For every application, one should always read any permissions needed to install it.
Spyware, and other forms of invading ones privacy are becoming more and more of a common concern for people in their everyday lives. Most people connected to something these days, whether it’s through one’s desktop, their cell phone, or their game consoles. Consumers of these products need more innovative security solutions.
One way that the millions of victims could possibly protect their devices from being infected in the future is to put some faith into an anti-malware app. Malwarebytes is one that claims to keep a persons’ device free of any spyware, malware or Trojans. The app will keep on a constant look out for suspicious activity such as malicious codes. The app makers also claim that the app will help keep one’s phone free of any applications that will try to track your location, or attempt to retrieve any of your personal info. Malwarebytes has a four star rating and is available for download in the Google Play App Store.
Panda Security has their own version called Panda Mobile Security which they say will detect malware threats, however they stress that in a matter of days, there could be hundreds of apps containing a malware that is undetectable by the current antivirus products available.
In an article published on CNET, it was written that a malware went undetected for weeks on Google Play in June of 2012. That time, a Trojan had come along with any download of Super Mario Bros., or GTA 3 – Moscow city. The malware at that time had allegedly been broken into separate payloads which meant the Trojan could go undetectable to either of the game’s makers.
The official amount of money stolen from the millions of victims might possibly supersede investigators predictions. The amount has not yet been reported. People should always pay attention when downloading apps from Google Play or any other market place to avoid being infected with serious malware.
By Katie Sevigny