Google has already removed 36 dangerous Android apps from the Play Store. These apps were first identified by McAfee when it came across several Android Apps that were capable of carrying out a number of tasks without the owner’s knowledge or authorization.
According to research done by McAfee’s Mobile Research Team, they have found a software library and have given it the moniker Goldoson. What it does is it compiles lists of installed apps, a history of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth device information, and GPS coordinates of nearby devices. The report says that the library is capable to perform ad fraud by clicking on ads in the background without the user’s knowledge or permission. As the app is running, the Goldoson library registers the device and obtains remote configurations. As per the report each app uses a different library name and remote server domain, both of which are obscured. The name Goldoson is quoted after the first domain name was discovered.
More than 60 apps have been discovered containing this third-party harmful library with more than 100 million downloads confirmed in South Korea’s ONE store and Google Play app download platforms.
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Google quickly responded after receiving a complaint from McAfee about the detected apps. According to reports, Google has informed the developers that their apps are in violation of Google Play policies and fixes are needed to reach compliance. While other apps received updates from the original developers, some were taken off Google Play. Users are asked to update the apps to the latest version to remove the identified threat from their devices.
Users in other countries, including users in India, should not worry because they are just South Korean-based infected apps, according to research. Reportedly
Reportedly Android 11 and later users are better protected from apps that try to collect all installed apps. But McAfee has observed that the most recent version of Android has about 10% of the Goldoson-compatible apps that have the permission “QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES” that allows them to access app information.
Similarly, users of Android 6.0 or later may be prompted for permissions like Location, Storage, or Camera at runtime. If the users give the location permission then the app can access not only GPS data but also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth device information nearby. “Based on BSSID (Basic Service Set Identifier) and RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator), the application can determine the location of the device more accurately than GPS, especially indoors.”
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