Android has given the power of mobile computing to millions and Google keeps updating its mobile OS with new features, enabling a better user experience, but its security seems to be lagging as new vulnerabilities are discovered.
Last month, we reported that a large number of gaming guide apps were reported to infect north of 2 million Android devices with a similar ad-displaying malware or adware.
As per CheckPoint’s report, the current ‘Judy’ malware has been found to house a malicious auto-clicking adware in 41 apps developed by a Korean company named Kiniwini and registered on Google Play as ENISTUDIO Corp.
The apps in question have total downloads between 4.62 million and 18.42 million which puts the total number of devices infected anywhere between 8.5 million to 36.5 million.
“The malware, dubbed ‘Judy’, is an auto-clicking adware which as found on 41 apps developed by a Korean company. The malware uses infected devices to generate large amounts of fraudulent clicks on advertisements, generating revenues for the perpetrators behind it,” CheckPoint Security stated.
The researchers found out that most of these apps have been on the Play Store for a long time but they were all recently updated and it’s unclear as to when the malicious code was inserted into these apps — making it unclear actually how many devices have been affected till date.
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How Did Judy Malware Attack Android Devices?
Google keeps reiterating the fact that its Play Store for Android is the best and safest repository of Android app and recommends users to download apps from there since they’ve security measures in place.
How is Adware Affecting Me Personally?
Although adware might not seem to be affecting your device, or the data held within it directly, the ad-displaying malware is still dangerous.
The Judy malware gains control of the device in order to be able to generate fraudulent clicks through it — which means that an attacker can perform other harmful activities too since they have control over the user’s device.
“A high reputation does not necessarily indicate that the app is safe for use. Hackers can hide their apps’ real intentions or even manipulate users into leaving positive ratings, in some cases unknowingly,” the report stated.
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.
According to CheckPoint, “Users cannot rely on the official app stores for their safely, and should implement advanced security protections capable of detecting and blocking zero-day mobile malware.”
The following apps have been removed from the Play Store soon after CheckPoint researchers found out about the malware, but in case you still have any of them lurking on your device, better uninstall them quickly.