Ah, Google, Great App Screening

June 19, 2024

Doesn’t google review apps before putting them in their online store? If so, apparently not very well. Mashable warns, “In Case You Missed It: Bank Info-Stealing Malware Found in 90+ Android Apps with 5.5M Installs.” Some of these apps capture this sensitive data with the help of an advanced trojan called Anasta. Reporter Cecily Mauran writes:

“As of Thursday [May 30], Google has banned the apps identified in the report, according to BleepingComputer. Anatsa, also known as ‘TeaBot,’ and other malware in the report, are dropper apps that masquerade as PDF and QR code readers, photography, and health and fitness apps. As the outlet reported, the findings demonstrate the ‘high risk of malicious dropper apps slipping through the cracks in Google’s review process.’ Although Anatsa only accounts for around two percent of the most popular malware, it does a lot of damage. It’s known for targeting over 650 financial institutions — and two of its PDF and QR code readers had both amassed over 70,000 downloads at the time the report was published. Once installed as a seemingly legitimate app, Anatsa uses advanced techniques to avoid detection and gain access to banking information. The two apps mentioned in the report were called ‘PDF Reader and File Manager’ by Tsarka Watchfaces and ‘QR Reader and File Manager’ by risovanul. So, they definitely have an innocuous look to unsuspecting Android users.”

The article reports Anasta and other malware was found in these categories: file managers, editors, translators, photography, productivity, and personalization apps. It is possible Google caught all the Anasta-carrying apps, but one should be careful just in case.

Cynthia Murrell, June 19, 2024


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