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

Release Date: 27 / 12 / 2013
Last Update: 27 / 12 / 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 December, we have downloaded 165 apps from Play Store, where 3 apps have been identified as high risk. 2 of them were removed from Play Store (on or before 27-December). 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: 165 apps
  • Unable to download via the system: 35 apps
  • Downloaded date: 5-December 2013
  • List of the downloaded apps: "Appendix 1" [download]

 

Analysis Overview

 

In this analysis, 165 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 165 scanned apps, 3 apps were identified as security high risk. These 3 Apps were identified with the following high risk behavior signatures Android.Adware.Adwo, Android.Trojan.Generic, Android.Adware.AirPush, Android.AdWare.AdMogo, ApplicUnwnt, Android.Adware.Plankton, Android.Adware.Mobclick.

 

List of security high risk apps

 

Application

High risk behavior signature / Ad plug-in

Malware detection ratio by VirusTotal

Status #

1. 2014桃花運 精准分析桃花走勢 v1.0.2

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, connect to the Internet, make phone call, and send out phone information, etc.

Android.Adware.Adwo
Android.Trojan.Generic
ApplicUnwnt
Android.Adware.AdMogo

12/44 [link]

Available on play store

2. 快播-高清美女 v1.1.048

Category: New Free Applications
Installs: 10,000-50,000
High risk behavior description:
It can obtain SIM serial number, connect to the Internet, etc.

Android.Adware.Mobclick
Android.Trojan.Generic

8/47 [link]
 

Removed from play store

3. 網絡微博QQ美女秀:高清,嫩模,蘿莉,美臀,美腿,激情,快播 v2.8.2

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

Android.Adware.Plankton
Android.Adware.AirPush

18/47 [link]
 

Removed from play store

Remark (#): The status was checked on 27-December. 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.AdMogoIt is a high risk Ad plug-in, which can steal user's private information, including phone number, call history, geo-location, etc.
ApplicUnwntThis high risk app is a Trojan, liked Android.Trojan.Generic. It can collect and steal user's private information at the background.
Android.Adware.MobclickIt is an Ad plug-in bundled with App, which can steal user's private information, such as phone number and email address.
Android.Adware.PlanktonIt 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. This behavior is called "aggressive advertisement", which forces displaying ads on the main screen.
 
3. High risk app analysis
 
Please refer to "Appendix 2" [download]