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Hong Kong Google Play Store's Apps Security Risk Report (September 2013)

Release Date: 30 / 09 / 2013
Last Update: 02 / 10 / 2013

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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 September, we have downloaded 182 apps from Play Store, where 13 apps have been identified as high risk. 5 of them were removed from Play Store (on or before 27-September). 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: 182 apps
  • Unable to download via the system: 18 apps
  • Downloaded date: 5-September 2013
  • List of the downloaded apps: "Appendix 1" [download]

 

Analysis Overview

 

In this analysis, 182 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 behavior pose malicious level of security risk, which can be identified explicitly, that causes security threat to users. Suspicious behavior refers to apps behavior pose certain level of security risk, but no malicious behavior can be explicitly identified.

 

1. Scanning Result

 

Among the 182 scanned apps, 13 apps were identified as security high risk. These 13 Apps were identified with 11 high risk behavior signatures, Android.Adware.Plankton.A, Android.Adware.Adwo.A, Android.Counterclank.A, Android.Adware.AirPush.G, Android.Trojan.Generic, Android.AdWare.Apperhand, Android.Adware.Plankton.l, Android.Trojan.GingerMaster, Android.AdWare.Ganlet, Android.AdWare.Leadbolt and Android.SMSSend.

 

List of security high risk apps

 

Application

High risk behavior signature / Ad plug-in

Malware detection ratio by VirusTotal

Status #

1. Turbo Racing v1.1

Category: New Free Game
Installs: >250,000
High risk behavior description:
It is an Ad plug-in bundled with App, which can steal user's private information, such as phone number and email address, and send to the 3rd parties.

Android.AdWare.Leadbolt

Android.Trojan.Generic

Android.AdWare.Ganlet

17/48 [link]

Removed from play store

2. Journey Wars _ Super Fighting v1

Category: New Free Game
Installs: 50,000-250,000
High risk behavior description:
This app contains the following high risk behaviors, obtain the name of SIM service provider, status of SIM, read phone number, enable camera automatically, connect to the Internet, etc.

Android.AdWare.Leadbolt

Android.AdWare.Ganlet

Android.Trojan.Generic

12/47 [link]

Available on play store

3. Bubble Combos v1.0.5

Category: Top Free Game
Installs: >250,000
High risk behavior description:
It is an Ad plug-in bundled with App, which can steal user's private information, such as phone number and email address, and send to the 3rd parties.

Android.AdWare.Leadbolt

Android.Trojan.Generic

Android.AdWare.Ganlet

14/47 [link]

Available on play store

4. 瘋狂猜成語 v1.38

Category: Top Free Game
Installs: >250,000
High risk behavior description:
It advertises application on pop-up ads and commercial ads, which can be downloaded and installed without getting user's permission. It can steal user's private information.

Android.Adware.Adwo.A

Android.Trojan.Generic

Android.SMSSend

17/44 [link]

Available on play store

5. 性愛姿勢動畫教學 做爱經驗分享 v1.4

Category: Top Free Application
Installs: >250,000
High risk behavior description:
It is an Ad plug-in bundled with App, which can steal user's private information, such as phone number and email address, and send to the 3rd parties. It contains high risk behaviors, which can obtain the status of SIM, connect to the Internet, use Intent to send/read phone information, use Intent to make a phone call, use Intent to enable camera, etc.

Android.Adware.Adwo.A

Android.Trojan.Generic

Android.Counterclank.A

Android.AdWare.Apperhand

17/45 [link]

Available on play store

6. 約炮神器:性愛360 v2.3

Category: Top Free Application
Installs: 50,000-250,000
High risk behavior description:
It is an Ad plug-in bundled with App, which can steal user's private information, such as phone number and email address, and send to the 3rd parties.

Android.AdWare.Apperhand

Android.Trojan.Generic

Android.Adware.Plankton.A

Android.Counterclank.A

18/45 [link]

Available on play store

7. Simple Mp3 Downloader v1

Category: Top Free Application
Installs: >250,000
High risk behavior description:
This app contains high risk behaviors, which can obtain the status of SIM, connect to the Internet, use Intent to send phone information, use Intent to make a phone call, etc.

Android.AdWare.Apperhand

Android.Trojan.Generic

Android.Adware.Plankton.A

Android.Counterclank.A

17/46 [link]

Removed from play store

8. Snapshot Text Editor v1

Category: Top Free Application
Installs: >250,000
High risk behavior description:
This app contains high risk behaviors, which can obtain the serial number of SIM, obtain the status of SIM, read phone number, enable camera automatically, connect to the Internet, use Intent to send/read/modify phone information, use Intent to make a phone call, use Intent to enable camera, etc, without getting user's permission.

Android.AdWare.Leadbolt

Android.Trojan.Generic

15/47 [link]

Available on play store

9. Digital Clock Live Wallpaper v1.6

Category: Top Free Application
Installs: >250,000
High risk behavior description:
This app contains high risk behaviors, which can obtain the status of SIM, connect to the Internet, use Intent to send phone information, use Intent to make a phone call, etc.

Android.AdWare.Apperhand

Android.Adware.Plankton.l

Android.Trojan.Generic

22/48 [link]

Removed from play store

10. 情人性愛姿勢300+ (動畫教學) v1.1

Category: Top Free Application
Installs: 50,000-250,000
High risk behavior description:
This app contains high risk behaviors, which can obtain the status of SIM, read phone number, connect to the Internet, use Intent to send/read phone information, use Intent to make a phone call, use Intent to enable camera, etc.

Android.Adware.Plankton.l

Android.Counterclank.A

Android.Adware.Adwo.A

22/26 [link]

Available on play store

11. Happy Couple v0.1.5

Category: Top Free Application
Installs: 10,000-50,000
High risk behavior description:
This app contains high risk behaviors, which can obtain SIM serial number, obtain the status of SIM, enable WiFi automatically, use Intent to send phone information, use Intent to make a phone call.

Android.Trojan.Generic

Android.Trojan.GingerMaster

Android.Adware.Adwo.A

18/47 [link]

Removed from play store

12. WhatsApp Messenger themes v1.2

Category: Top Free Application
Installs: 50,000-250,000
High risk behavior description:
It is an Ad plug-in bundled with app, and it contains high risk behaviors, which can obtain the status of SIM, obtain phone number, connect to the Internet, use Intent to send phone information, use Intent to make a phone call, etc.

Android.Adware.Plankton.A

Android.AdWare.Leadbolt

Android.AdWare.AirPush

21/47 [link]

Removed from play store

13. Hidden Porn Browser v1

Category: Top Free Application
Installs: 10,000-50,000
High risk behavior description:
This app contains high risk behaviors, which can obtain the status of SIM, connect to the Internet, use Intent to a make a phone call.

Android.Adware.Plankton.A

Android.AdWare.Apperhand

Android.Trojan.Generic

Android.AdWare.AirPush

21/48 [link]

Available on play store

Remark (#): The status was checked on 27-September.
 
2. High risk behavior signature and Ad plug-in
 

High risk behavior signature and Ad plug-in

High risk behavior

Android.Adware.Plankton.A

It is an Ad plug-in bundled with App, which can steal user's private information, such as phone number and email address, and send to cooperative companies. This behavior is called "aggressive advertisement", which forces displaying ads on the main screen.

Android.Adware.Adwo.A

It is an Ad plug-in bundled with App, which can steal user's private information, such as phone number and email address, and send to cooperative companies.

Android.Counterclank.A

It advertises application on pop-up ads and commercial ads, which can be downloaded and installed without getting user's permission. It can steal user's private information.

Android.Adware.AirPush.G

This is an advertisement framework. It can aggressively push ad to device's notification bar. It can modify browser's bookmark, and remove icon on the main screen. The ads will ask for money. Some ads showed in the notification bar will lure user to subscribe and pay for SMS service. Three common luring ads are 1) fake shop, 2) fake free call service, 3) system notification impersonation

Android.Trojan.Generic

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, operator name, system version, device model, IMEI, etc.

Android.AdWare.Apperhand

This high risk app can execute specified command and steal information. It can obtains user's private information. This app contains specified vulnerabilities, which can be exploited to compromise the system.

Android.Adware.Plankton.l

It is a Trojan, that steals sensitive information. It can collect information, e.g. IMEI number, display resolution, etc, and send to a remote computer. This Trojan contains a URL address, which can be operated to add/remove records on bookmark, add records to shortcut list, collect and send out data, via HTTP protocol.

Android.Trojan.GingerMaster

Hacker can use this high risk app to take control of the phone remotely. This high risk app was found as the first use of exploiting root on Android 2.3. It can bypass the detection of Anti-virus successfully. Once GingerMaster installed and got the root permission, it can connect to the remote command server and request for commands. It has an ability of download and installing apps without getting user's permission and notification.

Android.AdWare.Ganlet

It is a high risk Adware. When the phone downloads and runs the app, it will download another data packet automatically and pop-up advertisement. The other versions of this Adware are also found as spyware and Information stealer apps.

Android.AdWare.Leadbolt

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

Android.SMSSend

It is a Trojan that sends SMS to a specified phone number without getting user's permission. Exact cost may be incurred in user's account.

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