Android malware masquerades as Nintendo game emulator

Gunpoder contains several malicious functions and steals data

Palo Alto Networks has found a new family of Android malware that masquerades as a Nintendo game emulator.

Palo Alto Networks has found a new family of Android malware that masquerades as a Nintendo game emulator.

A new family of Android malware adds insult to injury by making users pay for the data-stealing application.

Palo Alto Networks found three variants of the malware, which it calls Gunpoder, masquerading as emulator applications used to play Nintendo games.

Antivirus engines are having trouble detecting Gunpoder's malicious code since it is packaged with an adware library called Airpush, wrote Cong Zheng and Zhi Xu of Palo Alto's Unit 42 research group.

"The malware samples successfully use these advertisement libraries to hide malicious behaviors from detection by antivirus engines," they wrote. "While antivirus engines may flag Gunpoder as being adware, by not flagging it as being overtly malicious, most engines will not prevent Gunpoder from executing."

Gunpoder apps can do a variety of invasive actions, including collecting bookmarks and browser histories, sending itself to other people over SMS, showing fraudulent advertisements and executing other code.

And users get to pay for that data-stealing capability. When a Gunpoder app is launched, it asks users to buy a lifelong license for the emulator for US$0.20 or $0.49, payable through PayPal or Skrill.

So far, Gunpoder appears to be targeting people in Iraq, Thailand, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Russia, France, Mexico, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Italy, the U.S. and Spain, Palo Alto said.

Curiously, the malware is programmed to not send itself by SMS to other numbers in a phone's contact list if the user is in China.

Its coders have also co-opted the Airpush advertising library with a fraudulent ad.

"The fraudulent advertisement page attempts to mimic a Facebook page," Palo Alto wrote. "It requests that victims finish a number of surveys and asks them to install various applications in order to receive a gift."

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags palo alto networkssecuritymobilemalware

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?