Google Play Store has lately been the victim of malware apps with millions of downloads, and while the company has been rapid in dealing with them, more issues keep popping up. The latest issue comes in the form of adware called SimBad. The SimBad adware affected 206 apps on Play Store, before being discovered by Check Point. All of the apps have now been removed after Google was notified about the same. The infected apps were downloaded more than 150 million times and could be exploited by miscreants to show ads, generating phishing site, urging users to open a particular URL in the browser.
The SimBad adware was discovered by Check Point’s Mobile Threat Team and is named like that because of being a simulator game. Check Point’s findings state that capabilities of SimBad ranged from showing ads to opening a specific URL in the Web browser and exposing users to more malicious apps. Moreover, it could install a remote application through malware parties from a designated server and inject more malware on a device if deemed necessary.
The SimBad is a part of the ‘RXDrioder’ SDK that is provided to developers as an add-on SDK for ad-related services. says Check Point’s report. “We believe the developers were scammed to use this malicious SDK, unaware of its content, leading to the fact that this campaign was not targeting a specific county or developed by the same developer.”
Once an infected Android app is installed and actively used, the SimBad adware can be commanded to show background ads and open a specific URL in the Web browser. And since the adware can take users to the desired URL, malicious parties can generate phishing pages. The adware also comes with the ability to hide an infected app’s icon from the launcher, making it difficult to uninstall the app.
Moreover, the adware could also take users to Play Store where users may be urged to download other such apps. Check Point notes that the SimBad malware “already has the infrastructure to evolve into a much larger threat”. As of the apps that have been removed from Google Play Store, one of them had around 10 million downloads, while 13 of them had touched the 5 million download mark.
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