Google has identified and removed close to 300 applications from the Play Store. All of these were part of the WireX DDoS botnet, which has managed to affect tens of thousands of Android phones in over 100 countries.
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Called WireX, this botnet thrives on victim devices with an application running in the background. Once the app receives its instructions it then carries out the desired task. Using this, WireX was targeting big websites from the hospitality industry.
According to the report by Kerbonsecurity, several technology and security companies have joined hands to curb this problem. While Google has been quick on removing the infected apps from the store, smartphones which have been infected are still out on the loose.
We identified approximately 300 apps associated with the issue, blocked them from the Play Store.
“We identified approximately 300 apps associated with the issue, blocked them from the Play Store, and we’re in the process of removing them from all affected devices,” Google said in a statement.
Most of these were mimicking seemingly harmless apps on the play store, luring Android users to install them.
The applications would carry out tasks as they advertised but with a hidden twist. They would run a program in the background awaiting instructions from its developers for an attack.
To further curb the problem, Google has updated Play Protect and it will now prevent users from installing any such infected app.
Are are infected?
To find out whether if you are infected or not, check for the apps that are running in the background. If you see anything that is not started by you, try to kill that process. Also look out for apps from unverified app developers on your phone. If you feel that an app that you installed recently is slowing your phone, try removing it.
Always rely on your discretion, before installing any app, read what all permissions it is asking for. If you see anything fishy, avoid installing that app.