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.

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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