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Android Malware Was Downloaded Millions Of Times From Google Play

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 by | Filed Under: Android, Security Help, Smartphones, Uncategorized

Google is supposed to serve as a gatekeeper and prevent malware from getting into the Google Play Store disguised as a legitimate app. But the company experience a major fail with an app called System Update. This little piece of malware was downloaded millions of times by users who bought the app’s claim that would allow users to update to the latest version of the Android operating system.

Zscaler security reported the app to Google and it was taken out of the store. But there were plenty of red flags that should have alerted users and, more importantly, Google, that this app was not legitimate.

There were no screenshots offered for the app. There was almost no description of what the app was supposed to do. Plus, there were plenty of reviews from frustrated users saying the app didn’t work at all.  Yet, somehow, it managed to sit there in the Google Play Store for three years, suckering in new users.

So what does this tricky app actually do?  It’s a piece of spyware that tracks you wherever you go using your phone. When users tried to open the app, it immediately stops and then gives you an error that says the service has stopped.

But the app is still working. It sends your last location to the malware developers and it also scans your incoming text messages. It makes changes to your system that allows attackers to send a text message that enables location and other alerts about your phone to be sent to the attacker.

This screenshot from Zscaler shows what this app looks like on your phone.


If you have added this app to your phone, make sure you delete it ASAP. You can learn more details about how this app works at Zscaler.

~ Cynthia


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