A bad new for all Android gamers of India, a virus bundled with popular games such as Candy Crush is reportedly attacking large number of users in India and stealing personal data, according to a report by IT security firm ESET. Yes, hackers have managed to break into the free game market and exploit players for money by inserting a virus called Mapin into otherwise non-malicous packages.
The backdoor Trojan was able to sneak in Google Play and several alternative Android markets multiple times as one of the following popular games: Plants vs zombies, Plants vs Zombies 2, Subway Suffers, Traffic Racer, Temple Run 2 Zombies, Super Hero Adventure, Candy Crush, Jewel Crush, Racing Rivals and others. The malware was uploaded to Google Play on November 24-30, 2013 and November 22, 2014.
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People affected by this virus, named ‘Android/Mapin’ by ESET, include those who downloaded games such as Candy crush or Jewel crush, Hill climb racing the game, Plants vs zombies 2, Subway suffers, Traffic Racer, Temple Run 2 Zombies, and Super Hero Adventure by the developers TopGame24h, TopGameHit and SHSH from the official Google Play store between November 24-30, 2013 and November 22, 2014.
The virus pretends to be a Google Play Update or an app named Manage Settings and takes 2-3 days to get activated after being downloaded, which prevents detection from Google’s Bouncer malware prevention system, according to ESET.
“Some variants of Android/Mapin takes minimum of three days to achieve full Trojan functionality. It may also be one of the reasons why the TrojanDownloader was able to evade Google’s Bouncer malware prevention system,“ — says Lukáš Štefanko, Malware Researcher at ESET.
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According to MIXRANK, a display ad intelligence company, Plants vs zombies 2 had over 10,000 downloads before it was pulled. On the same dates System optimizer, Zombie Tsunami, tom cat talk, Super Hero adventure, Classic brick game and the applications mentioned earlier from Google Play Store, packaged with same backdoor, were uploaded to several alternative Android markets by the same developers.
Naturally the thing is difficult to remove and will resist your efforts in that direction. The advice is to tread carefully when it comes to downloading things, the conclusion, at least from ESET, is that Google’s bouncers just aren’t doing their job. The security outfit suggested that operations like this one are behind Google’s recent decision to apply more scrutiny to applications presented to its Play Store.
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According to ESET, ” The Trojan was successfully uploaded to the Google Play Store, probably because Bouncer hadn’t implemented all the relevant malware triggers, in this case for emulating a change of network connectivity. “.
“The popularity of Android in India makes it an attractive target for cyber criminals. The fact that users in India were the most affected by Dropper Mapin Trojan that is well detected by our anti-malware solution, leads us to think that users in India are still unaware about basic security practices when it comes to smartphones,” — said Zakir Hussain, Head of ESS Distribution, Exclusive distributors of ESET products in India.
Although the number of users having solid anti-malware apps installed on their smartphones and tablets is growing in India, the number of malware created for smartphones is growing at a much faster pace. All these infected games are still available for download from Android market places other than Google Play and have been downloaded thousands of times, ESET said.
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