Android root malware widespread in third-party app stores

Users should be cautious when downloading from app stores other than Google Play

Four third-party app stores for Android have apps with a malicious component that seeks root access to devices, according to Trend Micro.

The security company found 1,163 Android application packages containing the malware, which it calls ANDROIDOS_ LIBSKIN.A, wrote Jordan Pan, a mobile threats analyst with Trend. The malware obtains root access to the phone, the highest level of access and privilege.

The apps containing the component were downloaded across 169 countries between January 29 and February 1 from marketplaces called Aptoide, Mobogenie, mobile9 and 9apps.

"We have already contacted these stores and informed them about these threats, but as of this writing, we have yet to receive any confirmation from their end," Pan wrote.

Security experts have long advised that people steer away from third-party apps stores, which may not have the same quality control as Google's Play store. Google vets the apps that are allowed on its store, although malicious ones sometimes slip in.

The malicious component found by Trend is wrapped into legitimate applications, such as games or music streaming apps. The malware can download other apps to a phone without a user's knowledge, Pan wrote.

"These secretly downloaded apps will then present themselves as ads luring users to download other apps from time to time," he wrote. "It can also be used to collect user data."

When pop-up ads begin appearing, it's not clear to the phone's user what app is generating the ads.

"The popups lure users into clicking unwanted apps," Pan wrote. "Clicking on the ads may not necessarily lead the user to the respective app or site."

The malware also collects a variety of data, including the device ID, network, other apps that are running on the device and more.

Join the newsletter!

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

Tags PCtrend microsecurityGoogle PlayAndroidmalware

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

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.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?