Cybercriminals Selling Google Play Threats on the Dark Web

Is your Android device at risk? The answer is yes! A recent report by Kaspersky reveals that cybercriminals sell Google Play threats on the dark web for up to $20,000.

Despite the various security measures implemented by Google Play, cybercriminals still find ways to get in. It’s like an “infinite cat-and-mouse game” between criminals and defenders; criminals hack, defenders patch, and the process continues.

Google Play conducts security testing on all Android apps before they get published. Additionally, Google Play Protect also provides an extra layer of protection for users by identifying and blocking malicious apps on Android devices.

Methods for bypassing security measures

Hackers have many tricks to get around security checks on Google Play. One such trick involves uploading a legitimate app to bypass security and then corrupting it afterward by updating using loaders.

What’s a loader? The software required to inject malware into an Android app

Another method is hijacking legitimate app developers’ accounts to inject malicious code into already-existing applications. Cracking a developer’s account will be pretty easy if one does not have a strong password or 2FA.

The dark web market offers

Several services are offered on the dark web to help attackers bypass Google Play’s security measures.

One of the most in-demand services is the purchase of developers’ Google Play accounts, which can be hacked or registered using stolen identities. It could cost as much as $60. At the same time, the cost of malicious loaders can range anywhere between $2,000 and $20,000, depending on the complexity of the malware and the provision of additional functions.

The source code of various tools that aid in uploading malicious apps to Google Play is also available.

Additionally, attackers can purchase Virtual Private Server (VPS) services for around $300, which they can use to control infected phones or redirect user traffic.

Web-based injections are also offered, allowing attackers to monitor victims’ activities and replace any web pages of interest with malicious ones. These injections are sold at prices ranging from $25 to $80 per piece.

google play threats
Services price list (Kaspersky)

Possibly susceptible apps

According to the report, the most popular application categories to hide malware include:

  • cryptocurrency trackers
  • financial apps
  • QR-code scanners
  • dating apps

How to protect yourself

To sum it up, due to all these rising concerns, you should take all the necessary steps to protect yourself from mobile threats.

The report recommends taking many actions, but one of the most important cautions is to avoid the installation of unknown apps.

You should also avoid updating software that requests extra permissions or asks you to download files from unauthorized sources.

Another important factor for organizations is to protect their developer accounts with strong passwords and 2FA.

Stay vigilant and take proactive measures to keep your mobile devices secure!

For more news and update on Cybersecurity, visit The Cybersecurity Club.

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