Without you realizing it, some applications on your phone collect your personal information. Some data, such as location, puts your security at risk by allowing you to be tracked wherever you are.
In 2021, as part of security research, the AppCensus revealed that malicious code is today in a dozen Android applications. Because the code is embedded in the SDK, a development kit provided by Measurement Systems, editors can easily access user statistics. The database could one day be used for malicious purposes.
How the SDK works?
The SDK is one of the kits of most classic development that exist today, but its flaw is data protection. As a reminder, in 2021, the applications developed from the software development kit provided a lot of information to the American army.
The applications were all developed in a company located in Panama and are intended for data theft. The US Department of Defense allegedly subcontracted the malicious code in “cyber intelligence, network defense and intelligence interception on behalf of US security agencies”.
Agents within cyber-intelligence and network defense have thus been able to collect thousands of data for months through applications dedicated to prayer for Muslim practitioners.
The kit provided by Measurement Systems is not limited to providing the location of the user. It also allows developers to have phone numbers, files stored in clipboard, email addresses. This could potentially reveal the identifiers and even the passwords of the online services used.
What kind of applications are affected?
The Measurement Systems SDK is able to scan folders in your Android device, such as file downloads from WhatsApp. With all the information on applications, calls and location, it becomes easier for hackers to cross-reference the data and know the targeted people.
After the revelation, the giant American Google has even deleted several apps from google play store. If you have already installed any of the following applications, you should remove them from your device as soon as possible. The developers are said to be linked to US intelligence services. Unfortunately, these applications were already downloaded millions of times before being removed from the store on March 25th.
This concerns: Speed Camera Radar, QR & Barcode Scanner, Al-Moazin Lite (Prayer Times), Ramadan 2022, Handcent Next SMS-Text w/ MMS, WiFi Mouse (remote control PC), Simple weather & clock widget, Smart Kit 360 and Qibla Compass. You must also uninstall the following audio applications: 50 Reciters & Audio Translation, Al Quran Mp3, 50+ Languages & Translation Audio, Full Quran MP3, Audiosdroid Audio Studio DAW.
A malicious update
Applications concerning QR codes, PDF creation as well as cryptocurrency management are able to take screenshots of your personal data. Which, of course, could expose your bank details.
If the harmful load of these apps escaped Google’s security check, it’s because the developers are very smart. Indeed, the application does not yet contain malware when you download it from Play Store. But once the application is installed, an update is offered to you.
This new version contains malicious code intended to violate the protection of your data. Note that the proposed update comes from sources other than the Google software store.
Not only is the malware not systematic, but it targets certain geographical areas. Not drawing attention to its malicious nature, the app works fine. It even fulfills the expectation of the user.
Moreover, this is not the first time that Google has discovered malware in its store. There have already been fake antiviruses intended to steal users’ money and also codes to hack victims’ cryptocurrency accounts.
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