Malware in Game Apps Infects 2 Million Android Devices: Here is How to Stay Safe

Prayank

Over 50 gaming app guides on Google Play store were carrying an ad-displaying malware which has infected approximately 2 million Android devices.

All the 50 gaming apps, which had been first uploaded to the app store back in November 2016, containing this malware have been removed from the Play Store but the devices which had downloaded them remain infected by the malware.

According to CheckPoint Security, FalseGuide malware-carrying apps managed to reach as many as 50,000 downloads for a single app.

The malware gives the hackers control of the infected devices without the knowledge of the owner, mainly for adware purposes.

“FalseGuide creates a silent botnet out of the infected devices. A botnet is a group of devices controlled by hackers. The bots are used for various reasons based on the distributed computing capabilities of all the devices,” the research reads.

FalseGuide Takes Control of Your Device

C_osett | Flickr

When an app containing the FalseGuide malware is installed, it asks for admin permission — which gives it full control over the device, so much so that the user can not delete it.

Once the malware has gained access to a device, it connects to the Firebase Cloud Messaging topic — with the same name as the app — and gives the attacker the ability to download additional malicious modules on the infected device.

While the app which CheckPoint researchers examined was ‘used to display illegitimate pop-up ads out of context’, depending on the level of malicious code contained within these additional modules, the attacker can also root the device, conduct a DDoS attack or penetrate private networks.

Why Guiding Apps for Games?

Guiding apps for games are as popular as the game itself as these contain several tips, tricks and walkthroughs of the game — monetise on the success of the original game.

Guiding apps has minimalistic features and doesn’t require a lot of time to build up, which gives malware developers an easy way to reach more people.

Isn’t Google Play Store Safe?

Jan Persiel | Flickr

While Google makes earnest efforts to keep its Play Store and Android environment safe, these apps were able to penetrate that security ‘due to the non-malicious nature of the first component’.

The first component of the malware which is downloaded with the gaming guide apps is the actual code, which needs additional modules to become malicious.

How to Stay Safe?

Although app stores have security measures in place to detect apps with malicious intent and block them off from being uploaded.

But users shouldn’t solely rely on the security measures of the app stores and should download antivirus on your smartphones, just as you install them on your PC.

Smartphones are fast emerging to have powerful computational powers and as the market around it grows, so do the threats.

Another way to stay safe is by not downloading game guide apps on your device right now as Google puts additional security measures into place.

You should also always check the permission that an app seeks before installing it on your device, as more than often, even the popular apps like Facebook are hindering your privacy.

List of the Infected Gaming Guide Apps

Infected games including several related to popular games like FIFA, LEGO-based games, NBA, Asphalt, Subway Surfer and more.

  • Guide for FIFA Mobile
  • Guide for LEGO Nexo Knights
  • Several Guides for Rolling Sky
  • Guide for LEGO City
  • Several Guides for Terraria
  • Several Guides for World of Tanks
  • Guide for Drift Zone 2
  • Guide for Mobile Legends
  • Guide for Injustice Gods
  • Guide for Ninja Go Shadow
  • Guide for Asphalt 8
  • Guide for Criminal Case
  • Several Guides for NBA Live Mobile
  • Several Guides for Hay Day
  • Guide for Subway Surfers
  • Guide for Zombie Tsunami
  • Guide for GTA San Andreas
  • Guide for Pokemon GO
  • Guide for Amazing Spiderman 2
  • Guide for LEGO Marvel Superhero
  • Guide for Dream League Soccer
  • Guide for LEGO City Undercover
  • Several Guides for Five nights at Freddy’s 2
  • Several Guides for Roblox
  • Guide for Auto Vip City
  • Guide for Super Mario
  • Several Guides for The Auto 4
  • Several Guides for Cadillacs
  • Guide for Spiderman 2
  • Guide for Mario
  • Guide for Friends
  • Guide for The Auto 5
  • Guide for League Soccer
  • Guide for Ninja Go Tournament
  • Guide for Hungry Shark World
  • Guide for FIFA 17
  • Guide for Slither
  • Guide for Mortal Kombat X
  • Guide for Shadow Fight 3
  • Guide for Shadow Fight 2

Know more about the release date and downloads of these apps here.

Also See
#Android apps#play store

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Prayank

Written By

Prayank

Bike enthusiast, traveller, ManUtd follower, army brat, word-smith; Delhi University, Asian College of Journalism, Cardiff University alumnus; a journalist breathing tech these days.