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New Android Warning: These 15 Malicious Apps May Be Hiding On Your Phone—Uninstall Now

As the stories keep coming about malicious apps finding their way onto Google’s Play Store, one serious concern is the increasingly sophisticated efforts made by those apps to hide their intent from users. Well, the latest report from the team at Sophos has found 15 harmful apps that have gone a stage further—literally “hiding their app icons in the launcher… or disguising themselves in the phone’s App settings page.”

Put simply, apps have been found that trick users into installing them to perform a trivial service. The app disappears from view, but it is actually running, disguised under a system name, making it impossible to detect and stop without effort. Users are urged to specifically root these apps out, stop them, then delete them completely.

If the apps aren’t seen, then they won’t trigger user concerns and they become much more difficult to casually delete without making the effort to find them. That’s the theory. But now those apps have been exposed. Users have been warned.

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Yet again, these latest apps join the countless others delivering adware—generating fraudulent revenue for their operators. Let’s be clear, free apps that deliver ads in their unpaid versions might be irritating, but they’re not necessarily fraudulent. But here we are talking about apps designed to deliver ads—it’s their sole purpose. It is the direct opposite of free apps, the ads are the focus, the app itself a wraparound.

The 15 apps discovered and disclosed by Sophos have been installed on more than 1.3 million devices—that’s a lot of ads, a lot of fraudulent revenue. And this is likely the tip of the iceberg for this new “icon hiding” threat category. “If history is any indication,” Sophos warns, “there are likely many more waiting to be found.”

The “dirty tricks” pulled off by these apps include various ruses to hide away—either on install or shortly afterward, and installing two apps at once—a benign app that is visible as per normal, and a malicious app that remains hidden. Most phones these days have a wide range of legacy and unused apps—we don’t notice what’s there and how many of us ever purge our devices? That’s the social engineering taking place here—if the app can hide initially, it will likely hang around for some time.

“Nine of the 15 apps used deceptive application icons and names, most of which appeared to have been chosen because they might plausibly resemble an innocuous system app,” Sophos explained. But they cannot hide completely if you know what you’re looking for—and Android users are urged to check their phones for these apps—and if you find them, delete them. “The app icon is still visible in the phone’s ‘gear’ Settings menu, under Apps.”

Here are the 15 apps exposed by Sophos—you’ll notice the poor reviews, often a sign that an app of this kind is best avoided.

As so often with adware apps, most are designed around trivial utilities—QR readers and image editors, for example. “Most ironically,” Sophos reports, one of the malicious apps is designed “to scrub your phone of private data.” You couldn’t make this up. The mindset to download an app of unknown provenance for such a delicate purpose we won’t get into—the warnings here basically go without saying.

Once installed, the apps use innocuous names to ensure they don’t trigger suspicions. And, arguably, the most worrying finding is that all 15 apps appeared this year—that means there are still gaping holes in Play Store security and there are adware factories churning out such apps and pushing them into the public domain. Sophos believes that similarities in coding structure and user interfaces suggests this batch of apps might all be related, despite appearing to come from different publishers.

Sophos says that Google was notified about the apps and they seem to have been removed—the underlying threat and coding techniques will remain in other as yet unidentified apps in the store and the myriad apps likely still to come.

The package names of the 15 apps are here:

Andrew Brandt, a principal researcher at Sophos, warns that “while these apps have been removed from the Google Play Store, there may be others we haven’t yet discovered that do the same thing.”

Brandt also explains that if uses suspect an app might be hiding, or to check against the published list, “tap Settings, then Apps & Notifications. The most recently opened apps appear in a list at the top of this page. If any of those apps use the generic Android icon (which looks like a little greenish-blue Android silhouette) and have generic-sounding names (‘Back Up,’ ‘Update,’ ‘Time Zone Service’) tap the generic icon and then tap ‘Force Stop’ followed by ‘Uninstall’.” Real system apps won’t offer an ‘uninstall’ option but will have a ‘disable’ option instead.

Ultimately, the usual advice applies here. Don’t download trivial utility apps because they seem nifty and free—they’re free for a reason. Even if the downside is simply unwanted ads, the fact is that malicious apps can often be hiding more dangers than that. Given how much private information we carry on our devices, don’t casually leave the backdoor open to anyone with a shiny app and a free install.

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I am the Founder/CEO of Digital Barriers, supplying AI surveillance tech to defence, national security, counter-terrorism and critical infrastructure entities in the U.S., EMEA and Asia. I write about the intersection of geopolitics and cybersecurity, as well as breaking security and surveillance stories. I also focus on the balance of privacy and public safety. Contact me at zakd@me.com.

Source: New Android Warning: These 15 Malicious Apps May Be Hiding On Your Phone—Uninstall Now

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These are 20 dangerous Android Apps that trap users of Android smartphones to mine the various cryptocurrencies using their devices computing power. The security solutions company Sophos has identified malicious apps on the Google Play store and on a Russian download site called “Coandroid” that tap into a smartphones CPU to mine for cryptocurrency that can cause your device to overheat and become slow, which could also lead to permanent damage to your smartphone. Some of these apps are very popular. If you have them installed on your phone, you should uninstall them immediately. If you’re new, Subscribe! ▶ https://www.youtube.com/techgumbo Share This Video ▶ https://youtu.be/WfTaXq_mbvM “Android Apps” Series https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list… Those listed below with “Coandroid” next to their name are safe to download from the Google Play store. Do not download from the “Coandroid” website. 0:41 AIMP (Coandroid) 1:23 Block Strike (Coandroid) 1:45 Parkour Simulator 3D (Coandroid) 1:54 Skanvord 2:08 NeoNeonMiner 2:24 Others 2:46 Wrestling Apps CoinMiner and other malicious cryptominers targeting Android https://www.sophos.com/en-us/medialib… TechGumbo is a leading source for the technology that we use each day. Whether it’s discussing computer operating system tricks, the latest tips for your mobile phone, finding out about the newest gadgets, or letting you know about the best Android Apps for your smartphone, TechGumbo has boundless topics on technology for the astute YouTube viewer.

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New Google Android Warning As Malicious Apps Hit 300 Million Play Store Users

Malicious Google Android apps seem to be hitting the Play Store increasing rapidly at the moment–or at least, reports of them are. This was the thinking behind ESET security researcher Lukas Stefanko’s report detailing the harmful apps on Google Play that hit the news in September.

The results are far from pretty: Stefanko’s analysis shows that 172 harmful apps with over 335 million installs were found on Google’s Play Store, according to various news reports written during the month. Of course, the installs would have taken place over a longer period than just the month of September.

In August, I reported that a dangerous spyware app had hit the Play Store twice. It came after Trend Micro researchers reported adware containing apps had been downloaded 8 million times.

Meanwhile, among reports in September, Forbes contributor Zak Doffman wrote how two apps with over 500 million downloads were revealed to contain dangerous adware.

And Adware was the top attack vector, with 48 apps that had over 300 million installs in total.  Subscription scams were another area of concern, with 15 apps found and 20 million installs. That was followed by apps containing hidden ads, with 14.5 million installs across 57 apps.

Google Play: Out of control?

So, is the number of malicious apps increasing, or are security researchers and as a result, journalists reporting them more? It is difficult to say but one thing is clear: Many people, including Android users, are worried that the Google Play Store is getting out of control.

This data highlights the problem that Google faces, says security researcher Sean Wright. “Unfortunately, this issue only seems to be getting worse. It would be interesting to see if Google has any plan in place to try tackle the problem.”

With multiple players involved in the Android ecosystem, coupled with Google’s less than stringent app store policies–at least compared to Apple–it’s really down to users to assess what’s safe and what’s not.

It’s certainly not ideal, but there are some best practices you can follow. As well as ensuring your operating system is as up to date as possible, you should use anti-virus and read app reviews.

Wright advises: “Only install apps that you are going to use. Pay close attention to details such as required permissions. If you are installing a flashlight app and it is asking for permissions to read your contacts, this should serve as an immediate red flag.”

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I’m a freelance cybersecurity journalist with over a decade’s experience reporting on the issues impacting users, businesses and the public sector. My interests within cybersecurity include critical national infrastructure, cyber warfare, application security and data misuse. I’m a keen advocate for women in security and strive to raise awareness of the gender imbalance through my writing.

Source: New Google Android Warning As Malicious Apps Hit 300 Million Play Store Users

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Subscribe: https://bit.ly/2x9BOFg Blog: https://channelworldnews.blogspot.com Android warning: Stay clear of these Google Play Store apps which stalk youANDROID fans have been put on alert and warned about several malicious apps found on the Google Play Store which stalk users.Android fans are being warned to stay clear of a number of apps found on the Google Play Store which stalk users of the Google mobile OS.Android is the most poplar pieces of software in the world, with it used by more than two billion people each month.However Android users are no strangers to security alerts, with some recent widespread threats being circulated via apps found on the Goole Play Store.Six Android apps that were downloaded a staggering 90million times from the Google Play Store were found to have been loaded with the PreAMo malware.While another recent threat saw 50 malware-filled apps on the Google Play Store infect over 30million Android devices.And now Android users are being warned once again about a security threat spread through the Google Play Store.Security experts at Avast have discovered seven apps on the Google Play Store that were loaded with stalkerware.This is a malicious form of software that stalks users and other people.These apps in total were downloaded more than 130,000 times, with the most popular one along being installed more than 50,000 times.The Android apps all have the capacity to collect information on users without their consent.Data collected by the stalking apps include call logs, contact information, as well as the location of the victim and text messages, according to an Avast blog post.The apps can also reportedly intercept WhatsApp and Viber messages on rooted devices.Nikolaos Chrysaidos, Avast’s head of mobile threat intelligence and security, said: “These apps are highly unethical and problematic for people’s privacy and shouldn’t be on the Google Play Store.“They promote criminal behaviour, and can be abused by employers, stalkers or abusive partners to spy on their victims.“We classify such apps as stalkerware, and

Google Warning: Tens Of Millions Of Android Phones Come Preloaded With Dangerous Malware

Millions of shiny new Android smartphones are being purchased with dangerous malware factory-installed, according to Google’s own security research team. There have been multiple headlines about the millions of harmful apps being installed from the Play Store, but this is something new. And the danger to unsuspecting users, trusting that new boxed devices are safe and clean, is that some of that preinstalled malware can download other malware in the background, commit ad fraud, or even take over its host device.

Android is a thriving open-source community, which is great for innovation but not so great when threat actors seize the opportunity to hide malware in basic software loads that come on boxed devices. New phones can have as many as 400 apps factory-installed, many of which we just ignore. But it transpires that many of those apps have not been vetted. The apps themselves will work as billed, providing a useful capability or service, so we can be forgiven for not considering the risk that might lurk within.

Google’s Maddie Stone, a security researcher with the company’s Project Zero, shared her team’s findings at Black Hat on Thursday. “If malware or security issues come as preinstalled apps,” she warned, “then the damage it can do is greater, and that’s why we need so much reviewing, auditing and analysis.”

The risk impacts Android’s Open-Source Project (AOSP), a lower-cost alternative to the full-fat version. AOSP is installed on lower-cost smartphones where cheaper software alternatives help keep prices down. This means owners of Android-badged devices from the likes of Samsung and Google itself are safe from this particular risk.

For an attacker, Stone warned, the benefit of supply chain compromise is that they “only have to convince one company to include their app, rather than thousands of users.” The Google team didn’t disclose any details of the brands of phones involved, but more than 200 device manufacturers fell foul of the testing, with malware allowing the devices to be attacked remotely.

Of particular concern were two particularly virulent malware campaigns: Chamois and Triada. Chamois generates various flavors of ad fraud, installs background apps, downloads plugins and can even send premium rate text messages. Chamois alone was found to have come installed on 7.4 million devices. Triada is an older variant of malware, one that also displays ads and installs apps.

Google is working to help device manufacturers screen for such vulnerabilities, and between March 2018 and March 2019, Stone claims such screening helped reduce the instances of devices infected by Chamois from 7.4 million to “only” 700,000. “The Android ecosystem is vast,” she warned, “with a diversity of OEMs and customizations—if you are able to infiltrate the supply chain out of the box, then you already have as many infected users as how many devices they sell—that’s why it’s a scarier prospect.”

In the meantime, the usual advice applies around downloading and installing apps from the Play Store. A healthy dose of skepticism does not go amiss when the app is from an unknown source. Not much users can do if those threats come preinstalled, though, and that’s why this revelation is so dangerous. For this one we need to rely on manufacturers to do the right thing and follow Google’s advice in screening software fully to eradicate such risks.

I am the Founder/CEO of Digital Barriers, a provider of video surveillance and analytics technologies to security and defense agencies as well as commercial organizations. I cover the sectors in which DB operates, potential conflicts are highlighted.

Source: Google Warning: Tens Of Millions Of Android Phones Come Preloaded With Dangerous Malware

Samsung Pay Comes to Africa, Launching In South Africa – Toby Shapshak

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Samsung Pay, the mobile payment from the world’s largest smartphone maker, has launched in South Africa.

Calling it the first such service in Africa, Samsung has partnered with two of South Africa’s big banks, Absa and Standard Bank through MasterCard and Visa cards.

The system took three years to set up, says Sung Yoon, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics Africa, working with the banks and the regulatory body, the Payments Association of South Africa (Pasa).

Because of the country’s mobile-first nature, he says “acceptance of Samsung Pay at launch in South Africa is much better than 2015 in the US when it launched. People in South Africa understand the technology better today, too, than users in the US did three years ago.”

Samsung Pay uses Galaxy handsets from the world’s largest smartphone maker to make payments using both MST and NFC technology – or tapping your phone on a point-of-sale terminal.

Once the app has been installed and credit cards have been added, people can make a payment just by authenticating themselves in the app – using a Pin code, fingerprint or iris scan.

The security is built on its “defence-grade Samsung Knox security platform and biometric authentication” which it installs on its smartphones.

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5 Ways To Become a Better Writer Using Android Apps and Tools – Jennifer Lockman

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Technology has definitely changed the art of writing and the means we can use to get our points across. Not so long ago everything involved handwriting (and then typing) a draft, spending hours on revision and proofreading, and eventually submitting a finished text to an editor’s red pen.

Thus, doing this kind of work well still takes skills, talent, and perseverance. Luckily for us due to the evolution of technology, everyone with an Android device or access to the internet can get the help needed to write and polish a paper. Whether you’re writing a college paper or the next Great American Novel, there are multiple apps available to help you with the entire process.

Take noteswriting and technology

If you’re a writer, you need a note-taking app you can rely on. Thus, you can spend more time brainstorming and less time waiting for inspiration to come. Plus, you can jot down your thoughts on the go.

Evernote

Evernote is one of the most downloaded apps on the Android market. Its logo is an elephant not by chance. This animal is known for a good memory. The app is created for the users not to forget anything important. Hence the symbolism. Evernote allows you capturing, organizing, and storing almost any type of digital note with your phone.

FiiNote

FiiNote is one of the hottest note-taking apps right now. It offers Android users a special feature: combined handwriting and keyboard. You can even paint illustrations! Additional features include voice typing, photo and video support, calendar, alarm and a to-do list.

2 Research

We all got writing assignments in school and college. So, you know the importance of deep and careful research in tailoring an excellent academic paper. It’s no less crucial for nonfiction because the story must be believable. In nonfiction, accurate research can make or break a writer.

Wikipedia

The official Wikipedia Android app is designed to help users quickly find and explore information on Wikipedia. You can make a voice-integrated search, create reading lists, see articles related to your GPS location, and more.

Instapaper and Pocket

These apps belong to a “read it later” type. They let you save any stuff you find on the web, from articles to videos, for easy access later. Instapaper and Pocket are similar. So, you’ll have to choose your favorite based on your personal preferences. They both offer a reading mode free of excess ads and images, an offline reading mode, and text-to-speech options.

3 Create content

Typing on your smartphone is not as convenient as on your laptop. But you can’t take your laptop with you everywhere you go. Do writing a great experience with the right software.

iA Writer has an integrated file browser that helps to simply organize and access all your documents. The black screen keeps your eyes from strain. Syntax highlighting shows you all nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs or conjunctions in the document. There’re also such features as auto-correction, word and character count, a preview mode, fast syncing, etc. This app is used for writing essays, screenplays, novels, white papers, business proposals, and other types of documents.

Monospace Writer

The app is equipped with a minimalistic dark theme that is easy on your eyes. It’s important as writing takes a lot of time. Monospace Writer is not as feature rich as iA writer, but it has its fans. You can use hashtags to organize related articles. Formatting options include the most essential styles: bold, italics, quote and bullet. You can export your content to a Markdown or Plain text.

JotterPad

JotterPad is a well-designed writing app with valuable features. The distraction-free interface allows a writer to focus on turning thoughts into text. It supports Markdown and has export options to PDF and DOCX. The app includes a built-in dictionary, extended keyboard, phrase finding, word and character count, and more.

4 Find the right wordswriting and technology

A great vocabulary is an essential tool in a writer’s toolbox. You must empower your writing with the best words and stay with the newest words.

Advanced English Dictionary & Thesaurus

This app has a lexical database with more than 1.4 million words. The dictionary doesn’t follow the standard format. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs are gathered into groups of synonyms. The dictionary provides the definition, the examples of usage, synonyms, antonyms, and even hyponyms of the word.

Urban Dictionary

It’s important for a writer to stay in sync with the current language. Update your vocabulary with Urban Dictionary. The app contains words and phrases that are used by young people. You can actually define any word, whether it’s slang or not.

5 Edit and proofread

Polishing your works has never been easier. Android apps are easy-to-use and save time on editing.

Ginger Page

Ginger Page is a powerful productivity-focused app. It automatically detects and corrects all grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. The sentence rephraser will offer you the synonyms to replace boring words. Your writing will sound more exciting.

Spell Checker

You may be good at spelling. But there’s always a possibility of typos in your work. Spell Checker will find all spelling mistakes and offer suggestions from inbuilt dictionary, which is formed from Wikipedia’s most widely used words. You can correct your content without an internet access.

Classic Text to Speech Engine

This app converts a document into a naturally audible voice file. Why should you listen to your work? It allows you to spot errors you’ve made in your writing. You’ll notice missing words and misspelled words. You’ll also be able to hear the rhythm of your speech and polish the flow of the work if necessary.

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How Android gets to 100% market share — TechCrunch

Android commands more than 80 percent of the mobile OS market share globally, and just less than 60 percent in the U.S. But you wouldn’t know it here in Silicon Valley — almost everyone I know has an iPhone. As the consumer technology landscape evolves over the next five years, however, there are a number…

via How Android gets to 100% market share — TechCrunch

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