Malicious Android Apps Steal Text Messages

Sophos Naked Security alerted us to two Android apps that are included in the Google Play Store as legitimate apps.  This makes these apps particularly dangerous, if you are following our advice to only install apps from legitimate sources.  Once installed, they download a plug-in that harvests your text messages and sends them to a web server.  Since the plug-in is downloaded after installation from another source, the developers managed to evade the usual software checks at Google.  Sophos is working with Google to have these apps removed from the store.

One app is for “App Play Store”, and the other is for “Skin Care Magazine”.  If you have installed these apps, it would be best to remove them from your phone.

Many apps as for a variety of permissions when you install them.  You may want to ask yourself what some of the permissions are used for.  Why does a game need my location information, for instance?  It is possible to un-check permissions before installation.

This is another reminder that smartphones need security too.  Most anti-malware companies that make computer security software also have apps fro the Android and iPhone markets, including the free Sophos Mobile Security for Android.  If you are unprotected, install one of these now!

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About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at

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