In more details, ESET analysed two samples of malicious software on Google Play that appeared as game apps named “Cowboy Adventure” and the other one “Jump Chess”. Those two applications contain a trojan function that allows them to pull phishing attacks. Google has already withdrawn both of them and there is a warning that appears now before the user decides to install them on his Android device.
A few months ago, Google had also announced that it is currently on the progress of improving security mechanisms that would be added to the Google Play Store in order to reduce the danger of downloading malware. And this is truly a crucial step, given that Play Store offers the majority of apps that are available on any store.
Unlike the case of the false “Minecraft” app that ESET recently analysed, the “Cowboy Adventure” and “Jump Chess” are actual games that just include malicious software. After the app is installed (either one of the two), a false window appears that makes the user connect to Facebook but sends the input access data (email and password) to the server that pulled the attack.
The total number of users that downloaded one of those two phishing apps and then logged in the fake Facebook page, could be up to a million right now, according to ESET.
Robert Lipovsky, a senior of malware researcher at ESET, told The Huffington Post that malware on Google Play is not unheard of. “It happens more often than we’d hope. Google does have security mechanisms in place to keep malware off the Play store (Google Bouncer) but the reality in computer security is that no technical solution is 100 percent bulletproof.”, he said.
The senior of malware research mentioned a few tips to stay as safe as possible. First he advised users to only download apps from big known and generally trustworthy sites such as the Play Store or the App store (something that doesn’t work quite well as it turns out). Then he also suggested to always make sure that you read reviews from other users before you download. That makes sense and surprisingly enough, A number of people had noticed and written about how sketchy “Cowboy Adventure” was before Google removed it.
Jason Hong on the other hand, who is an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon’s school of computer science and at the same time head of “PrivacyGrade” said to “HuffPost”: “This kind of thing is pretty easy to do, and we’re lucky we haven’t seen it a lot yet. It’s pretty likely we’ll see a lot more of it in the future though, because criminals are pretty good at copying each other once they see that something works”.
Besides all the above though, a good way to stay protected that requires no tasks done from you, is an antimalware scanner for your phone of the sort that ESET makes. There are many more antimalware scanners and antivirus software. Whichever you use, always make sure that you stay as protected as possible.