HKCert
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Hong Kong Google Play Store's Apps Security Risk Report (December 2014)

Release Date: 24 / 12 / 2014
Last Update: 24 / 12 / 2014

 

Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team (HKCERT) Coordination Centre cooperates with the National Institute of Network and Information Security (NINIS) for detecting malicious and suspicious behaviors of Apps from the Google Play Store, in order to study the security risk of apps in the Google Play Store in Hong Kong area. NINIS provides us analyzed result, and we collate the detection result and publish security alerts to the public.

 

In the report of December, we have downloaded 200 apps from Play Store, where 5 apps have been identified as high risk. 2 of them were removed from Play Store (on or before 23-Dec). The detail of report is shown as follow.

 

Target scope

  • Top 50 Free Applications in Hong Kong area
  • Top 50 New Free Applications in Hong Kong area
  • Top 50 Free Games in Hong Kong area
  • Top 50 New Free Games in Hong Kong area

 

Scanned Apps

  • Successful downloaded and scanned: 200 apps
  • Unable to download via the system: 0 apps
  • Downloaded date: 5-December 2014
  • List of the downloaded apps: "Appendix 1" [download]

 

Analysis Overview

 

In this analysis, 200 apps were scanned for bad behaviors. Based on the level of security threat, the apps were divided into 2 categories: apps with malicious and apps with suspicious behaviors. Malicious behavior refers to apps having malicious purpose explicitly, which could cause direct harm to systems and users' interests. Suspicious behavior refers to apps having behavior, which could cause direct harm to systems and users' interests, but no malicious behavior can be explicitly identified.

 

1. Scanning Result

 

Among the 200 scanned apps, 5 apps were identified as security high risk. These 5 Apps were identified with the following high risk behavior signatures Android.Adware.Kuguo, Android.Adware.Domob, Android.Trojan.Generic.A, Android/AdLoad.B.Gen, Android.Adware.SmsReg, etc.

 

List of security high risk apps

 

Application

High risk behavior signature / Ad plug-in

Malware detection ratio by VirusTotal

Status #

1) PPS影音HD    (v2.1.1)

Category: Top Free App
Installs: 5,000,000+
High risk behavior description:
obtain SIM status, obtain geo-location information, and connect to the Internet.

Android.Adware.Domob

9/47 [Link]

Available on play store

2 ) Youku-MovieTVcartoonMusic    (v4.4)

Category: Top Free App
Installs: 5,000,000+
High risk behavior description:
obtain SIM operator name, obtain SIM serial number, obtain SIM status, enable camera automatically, connect to the Internet, and send out phone information.
.

Android.Adware.Domob
Android.Trojan.Generic.A

6/33 [Link]

Available on play store

3) 三國英雄殺 萬人跨服戰 誰是王者    (v2.4.0)

Category: New Free App, New Free Game
Installs: 50,000+
High risk behavior description:
obtain SIM operator name, obtain SIM serial number, obtain SIM status, read voice mail number, read phone number, and connect to the Internet.

Android.Adware.Kuguo

3/33 [Link]

Removed from play store

4) 博雅鬥地主(支持癩子玩法)    (v5.5.3)

Category: Top Free Game
Installs: 1,000,000+
High risk behavior description:
obtain SIM operator name, obtain SIM status, read phone number, connect to the Internet, and make phone call.

Android/AdLoad.B.Gen

8/47 [Link]

Available on play store

5) 神鬼奇緣 首創渡劫修仙手游    (v1.06.00)

Category: Top Free Game
Installs: 100,000+
High risk behavior description:
obtain SIM operator name, obtain SIM serial number, obtain SIM status, read voice mail number, read phone number, and connect to the Internet.

Android.Adware.SmsReg

3/47 [Link]

Removed from play store

 
Remark (#): The status was checked on 23-Dec. There is no direct relation between the on-shelf status and this report.
 
 
2. High risk behavior signature and Ad plug-in
 

High risk behavior signature and Ad plug-in

High risk behavior

Android.Adware.Kuguo

This is advertisement software bundled with the application. It can steal user's private information, such as phone number, email address, etc.

Android.Adware.Domob

It is a high risk Ad plug-in, which can steal user's private information, including phone number, call history, geo-location, etc.

Android.Trojan.Generic.A

This is a malicious backdoor Trojan, which runs in the background. It allows remote access to the infected system. It will collect and steal sensitive information, such as Internet activities, account/password setting, geo-location, and IMEI, etc.

Android.Adware.SmsReg

It is a high risk app. When the app is running, it can receive user's SMS and send SMS in the background. It can cause user information disclosure and pay additional charge.

Android.B.Gen

It is a high risk Ad plug-in, which downloads and shows advertisement on the notification bar, and tracks the status of network usage.

 
 
3. High risk app analysis
 
Please refer to "Appendix 2" [download]