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

Release Date: 28 / 11 / 2013
Last Update: 28 / 11 / 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 November, we have downloaded 170 apps from Play Store, where 8 apps have been identified as high risk. 3 of them were removed from Play Store (on or before 26-November). 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: 170 apps
  • Unable to download via the system: 30 apps
  • Downloaded date: 5-November 2013
  • List of the downloaded apps: "Appendix 1" [download]

 

Analysis Overview

 

In this analysis, 170 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 170 scanned apps, 8 apps were identified as security high risk. These 8 Apps were identified with the following high risk behavior signatures, Android.Adware.Adwo, Android.Adware.AirPush, Android.Trojan.Generic, Android.AdWare.Leadbolt, Android.Adware.SKplanet, Android.Adware.InMobiAds, Android.Adware.AdMogo, Android.Adware.Domob, Android.Adware.MobWIN, Android.Adware.TapjoyAds, and Android.Riskware.SmsReg.

 

List of security high risk apps

 

Application

High risk behavior signature / Ad plug-in

Malware detection ratio by VirusTotal

Status #

1. TV Peppa Pig v1.2

Category: New Free Applications
Installs: 10,000-50,000
High risk behavior description:
It can obtain SIM serial number, obtain SIM status, read phone number, enable camera automatically, connect to the Internet, image capture, make phone call, and send out phone information, etc.

Android.Adware.SKplanet
Android.Trojan.Generic
Android.Adware.InMobiAds

6/46 [link]

Removed from play store

2. 周星馳電影 v3.4

Category: New Free Applications
Installs: 1,000-5,000
High risk behavior description:
It can enable voice record automatically, connect to the Internet, and make phone call, etc.

Android.Adware.Adwo
Android.Adware.Domob

11/46 [link]
 

Available on play store

3. 週末影院 v3.1

Category: New Free Application
Installs: 1,000-5,000
High risk behavior description:
It can enable voice record automatically, connect to the Internet, and make phone call, etc.

Android.Adware.Adwo
Android.Adware.Domob
Android.Trojan.Generic

15/47 [link]
 

Available on play store

4. 2014年開運寶典完整版-獨家開運轉運秘笈,讓你馬年行好運! v1.0.3

Category: New Free Application
Installs: 5,000-10,000
High risk behavior description:
It can obtain SIM serial number, obtain SIM status, read phone number, connect to the Internet, send out phone information, and make phone call, etc.

Android.Adware.AdMogo
Android.Adware.Adwo

8/46 [link]

Available on play store

5. 猛男让女人满足到巅峰的69式 v1.1

Category: New Free Application
Installs: 10,000-50,000
High risk behavior description:
It can obtain SIM serial number, obtain SIM status, enable voice record automatically, connect to the Internet, image capture, make phone call, and send out phone information, etc.

Android.Adware.AirPush
Android.Adware.MobWIN

11/44 [link]

Removed from play store

6. Race Illegal: High Speed 3D v1.0.12

Category: Top Free Game
Installs: >250,000
High risk behavior description:
It can read phone number, enable Bluetooth automatically, enable voice record automatically, connect to the Internet, make phone call, image capture, send out phone information, and read phone content, etc.

Android.Adware.Domob
Android.Trojan.Generic

8/47 [link]

Available on play store

7. Bubble Mania v1.0.1

Category: New Free Game
Installs: >250,000
High risk behavior description:
It can obtain SIM status, read phone number, connect to the Internet, send out phone information, modify user data, image capture, and make phone call, etc.

Android.AdWare.Leadbolt
Adware.Android.AirPush
Android.Trojan.Generic

7/46 [link]

Available on play store

8. 捕鱼达人2 FREE v1.1.4

Category: New Free Game
Installs: 10,000-50,000
High risk behavior description:
It can obtain SIM status, read phone number, enable wifi automatically, connect to the Internet, send out phone information, make phone call, and image capture, etc.

Android.Trojan.Generic
Android.Riskware.SmsReg
Android.Adware.TapjoyAds

16/43 [link]

Removed from play store

Remark (#): The status was checked on 26-November. 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.Adwo

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

Android.Adware.AirPush

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, and IMEI, etc.

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.Adware.SKplanet

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

Android.Adware.InMobiAds

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

Android.AdWare.AdMogo

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

Android.Adware.Domob

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

Android.AdWare.MobWin

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

Android.Adware.TapjoyAdsIt is an Ad plug-in bundled with App, which can steal user's private information, such as phone number and email address.
Android.Riskware.SmsRegApp can run in background and connect to internet. It can send out paid SMS, exact cost may be incurred in user's account.
 
3. High risk app analysis
 
Please refer to "Appendix 2" [download]