Google has taken drastic and important steps to ban malicious apps from Google Play as millions of Euros have been stolen from over 10 million Android smartphone users worldwide. This is because most smartphone users are aware of the risks of downloading or clicking on something whose origins aren’t entirely clear and leads to a scam. But the latest scam that has been brewing till the end of 2020 may even fool the most tech-savvy among us. This time Hackers are targeting 2.5 billion Android users around the world. They have already managed to scam 100 million dollars on their phone bills by having them click on an enticing, seemingly innocuous message. On September 29, 2021, a mobile security company reported that Hackers had recently launched a major scamming campaign using the Google Play Store. According to the Company, the scammers had created more than 200 seemingly harmless apps and made them available in the Play Store, looking to steal million from Android users. Once these malicious apps were downloaded, a notification would pop up notifying that the user had won a reward and ask them to provide their phone number to claim it. By this, the Android users submit their phone number to an SMS service that helps attackers charged their phone bill around $42 per month. Moreover, some of the attacked users may have already been charged more than $400 at this point, if they have not realized the issue timely and contacted their SIM operator to remove the fraudulent services.
The mobile security company stated that Forensic evidence of this active Android Trojan attack, which has been named GriftHorse, and suggests that the threat group has been running this scamming campaign since November 2020. We let you know that GriftHorse is an Android Trojan attack that uses malicious Android apps to take advantage of user interactions and trick them into signing up for an unknown reward.
Here are the lists of apps used by the attackers that could target users through seemingly normal but harmless apps.
- “Amazing Video Editor,”
- “Scanner App Scan Docs&Notes,” and
- “Daily Horoscope&Life Palmestry.”
Thus, Google has removed these identified apps Zimperium Company from the google play store and banned the app developers subsequently, told google in a statement. Meanwhile, Richard Melick, Zimperium’s director of product strategy, has stated, “It’s a carpet-bombing effect when it comes to the quality of apps. One might be successful, another might not be, and that’s fine.
According to the mobile security company, it has estimated that the group has affected around 10 million Android users globally. The company explained that “The campaign is very talented, as they were targeting mobile users from 70-plus countries by changing the application’s language and displaying the content according to the current user’s IP address,”. Google has successfully removed these malicious Grifthorse apps, but the problem is that these apps still exist on third-party websites and have unsecured repositories. So if you are going to side-load an app, at least make sure you obtained it from a reputable source.
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