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New Android Malware Creating Fraudulent Ad Views

Sep 7, 2017

There is some new Android malware that was found by eZanga you might want to know about. This new Android malware is found within many different “innocent” apps out there on Google Play Store. The malware is basically using your Android device without your permission to view videos and create fraudulent advertisement revenue. We have all of the latest news about the thousands of apps eZanga found on Google Play Store that contain this Android malware.

Android Malware Leads to Fraudulent Ad & Video Viewing

The biggest threat to this new Android malware is that it has been found in over 1,300 different apps. Most of these apps are innocent apps, meaning those that show you a cute kitten as your wallpaper or allow you to edit your photos for free. The malware is basically viewing videos and advertisements on your device without your knowledge or permission. This in turn will lead to fraudulent advertisement views and revenue for those responsible for the Android malware.

The online marketing firm eZanga happened to find out about this Android malware while using Anura. Anura is the fraud protection software that the company created. The software was being used to look at a specific module that is found within an Android SDK.

For those of you not familiar with the inner workings of Android, an SDK is a Software Development Kit. This particular module will hide within the apps themselves and then run various advertisement and play videos once it is activated. This is happening with the Android user is not using the device, which means it is without the knowledge or permission of the user.

Android Malware Found Hidden in Over 1,300 Apps

This specific Android malware was found to be hidden in over 1,330 different apps. The malware has been eating down battery life and eating down bandwidth as well. If you have an Android device that is not getting good battery life, this malware just might be the reason.

A lot of apps are using this particular SDK responsible for the fraudulent ad views. Some of these top apps could have easily been downloaded over 1 million times just in the Google Play Store alone. For advertisers, this could mean a loss of $2 million to $10 million in fraudulent revenue.

The most interesting part about this Android malware was how quickly the malware was spreading. One week, eZanga found the malware in 312 apps. Out of those 312 apps, there were 53 in Google Play Store. A week late, 750 apps were found with this SDK and out of those, 300 were in Google Play Store.

A couple days later, 1,330 apps were found with this Android malware SDK. Out of the 1,330 apps there were 317 that were found in Google Play Store. That is a huge increase in the amount of apps that were using this SDK module, and it shows how quickly this fraudulent ad revenue malware could spread.

Android Malware & SDK Module Hidden Inside “Innocent” Apps

The Android malware we are talking about right now is being hidden inside of “innocent” apps. These are apps that seem like they are nothing, meaning nothing harmful or nefarious. Apps such as free background apps or wallpaper apps for Android.

These apps often times contained cute cats or cool effects. Some also contained nature scenes or other cute animals. Some of the other apps with this SDK module included photo-editing software or apps that promised to be a free version of the popular paid software.

Google Responds to New Android Malware Threat

It did not take too long for Google to respond to eZanga about the new Android malware threat with this SDK module. Google said that all apps are automatically scanned in order to see if there is potentially harmful malware or other spam going on. These apps are all scanned before they are published on Google Play Store.

There is even a new process being implemented. This new process would allow for a proactive app review. There is also Google Play Protect, which will scan the Android devices and tell a user if there is a suspected malicious app being downloaded. Verify Apps also is being used to warn the user about potentially harmful or dangerous apps.

Google did remove all of the apps eZanga mentioned in the study. It took a few weeks for Google to remove all of these suspected apps from Google Play Store, which means millions of Android devices could be impacted by the SDK. Even though those apps were removed, eZanga said it looked and found over 6,000 more apps with this SDK installed.

Some of those were found on Google Play Store. These apps were a new strain of the same Android malware. This means that it is evolving, and the threat is still present on both Google Play Store and beyond. The main way to avoid this particular issue is to not download any app that promises to give you a free version of a popular paid app. If it is an app you will use and it costs money, you really should purchase the app in order to avoid this SDK malware.