Flashlight Apps Malware

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Flashlight Apps Malware – As many as 7.5 million Android users could have fallen victim to malware that presented itself as a string of flashlights and other utility apps downloaded from the official Google Play Store.

Dubbed LightsOut by Check Point researchers who discovered the rogue apps, the adware is hidden inside 22 Play Store apps, which have been downloaded between 1.5 million and 7.5 million times in total.

Flashlight Apps Malware

The purpose of the malware was to generate advertising revenue by repeatedly displaying pop-up advertisements in a way that compelled the user to click on them before they could continue using their device. For example, users had to click on ads before ending calls and accessing other apps.

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Applications containing LightsOut also hid from the user to ensure that they could not be easily uninstalled and thus continue to generate revenue for attackers.

LightsOut works by embedding its malicious capabilities into the app and appears to only extract the ability to display adware once the app is installed and running on the device. The script contains malicious functionality which is triggered by the command and control server as soon as the application is activated.

The first option hides the icon after the first launch of the application, which makes it difficult to uninstall the malicious application.

The second capability is that LightsOut appears to give users the ability to opt out of ads. However, even if the user says they don’t want to see ads, they will still be targeted by intrusive pop-ups in situations such as making calls, connecting to Wi-Fi, plugging in a charger, and locking the device. screen.

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By showing ads when the app is apparently not in use, attackers attempt to confuse the victim and separate the malicious activity from the app – another attempt to prevent its uninstallation.

While the Play Store verification process is designed to prevent malicious apps from becoming available to users, they are regularly known to sneak onto the network when attackers find ways to circumvent protection.

“One is to load a harmless ‘bridge’ app which does not contain any malicious functionality. Only after the app is installed on a real device does it pick up the malicious components from its own command and control server,” a Check Point spokesperson said.

“The other is various malware that introduces intentional evasion techniques, delays malicious activity, or attempts to evade scanning by default, such as in Google Play Protect. Google only scans apps for a short period, which means it may miss some malicious actions,” they said. added. .

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Distributed rogue applications include LightsOut Realtime Cleaner, Call Recorder Pro, Smart Flashlight, Cool Flashlight, Flashlight Pro, Network Guard etc. Check Point reported the 22 apps to Google, which has now removed them from distribution through the Play Store.

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Nowadays almost everyone knows that you have to be very careful while using any type of app because there are many apps which seem trustworthy but are full of malware which is actually very dangerous for you. Smartphone if you are not very careful with this kind of aspects overall.

Another problem you’re probably familiar with is that many of these apps also misuse your data, and if you want to protect your privacy in an increasingly interconnected digital age, it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t. don’t do. Download any apps that clearly seem to be using excessive amounts of your data.

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However, apps that don’t seem to need your data will be risky to use because they may only be using your data even though they don’t need it. Remember that data mining is a big source of apps, so even seemingly ordinary apps like a flashlight app can misuse your data without you even realizing it. Some may expose you to an excessive amount of annoying ads.

In light of the issues faced by people downloading data deletion malware and misusing Google Play Store, Avast released a report asking users to be careful when granting permissions to apps, saying that any app could end up misusing your data. Here is a list of 10 apps that require up to 77 permissions (including downloading data without permission and recording audio from your device) to turn on your phone’s flash.

Some might criticize this move as forcing users to protect themselves, while Google should be the one stopping these apps from entering their store in the first place, but others applaud this move as a step in the right direction to the company. , one of the reasons why it will surely help people feel secure while using the Android platform. The main reasons why smartphones are easily replaceable these days are extremely slow performance and poor battery life. While many consumers are concerned about their smartphone battery, there are apps that they have inadvertently downloaded and installed on their devices which not only slows down their devices but also drains their battery quickly.

Fake apps and malware are all over the internet these days and mostly consumers happily download them as they look like useful utilities that can help users in their daily life. However, these apps do not appear and work as advertised.

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The American global computer security software company McAfee reports that there are bogus applications disguised as utility programs that end up allowing users to commit ad fraud, drain the device’s battery and slow down its performance.

Unfortunately, according to the report, these fake apps posing as calculators or flashlights have been downloaded by Android users over 20 million times from the official Google Store on Google’s mobile storefront. The computer security software company has already contacted Google and the tech giant quickly removed these apps from the Play Store.

However, it is still harmful for those who downloaded and installed it on their devices. McAfee, also known as Clicker Applications, said applications such as “Flashlight (Torch), QR Readers, Camara, Unit Converters and Task Managers” contain malicious code. Once users install and open it on their machine, they run an HTTP request and download the configuration remotely.

After downloading the configuration, apps register a Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) listener, which enables the device to receive push messages. The report revealed, “At first glance, it appears to be well-designed Android software. However, it hides behind ad scam features, armed with remote setup and FCM techniques.

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The report also states: “When an FCM message receives certain conditions and meets certain conditions, the underlying function begins to function. Essentially, it visits the websites transmitted through the FCM message and cycles through them successively in the background while simulating user behavior.

Unbeknownst to users, their machines are consuming power while making profit for malicious actors through heavy network traffic. And while these apps do not contain malware that steals users’ identity or login credentials, their activities drain the device’s battery and ultimately slow down its performance.

Clicker apps reported by the computer security software company include High Speed ​​Camera, Smart Task Manager, Flashlight, 달력 메모장 (Calendar Notepad), K-Dictionary, BusanBus Flashlight+, Quick Note, Currency Converter, Joycode, EzDica , Instagram Profile Downloader, Ez Notes, 손전등 (flashlight) and 계산기 (calculator).

Stay up to date with IBT’s quickstart Stay up to date with our daily newsletter Subscribe now Flashlight Apps Harbor Data-Stealing Malware? Flashlight apps can contain hidden code to steal your personal data and send it to foreign cybercriminals, but any phone app can.

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On October 1, 2014, cybersecurity firm SnoopWall released a “threat assessment report” discussing flashlight apps for Android devices and the security threats they may pose. Although the report was released with disturbing news on how some flashlight apps accessed banking information and mobile phone video cameras and sent users’ personal details to cyber criminals abroad in India , in China and Russia, the SnoopWall report itself did not mention it. No evidence was provided of such activity. This report just compiled a chart of the permissions accessed by the top ten Android flashlight apps and provided some tips on “best practices to increase privacy and security on your device without spending money.”

It is indeed true that a number of flashlight apps can actually request access to user permissions and data.

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