Google has removed over 500 Android apps from the Playstore marketplace after it was discovered that the apps had been infected by a spyware. A Software Development Kit (SDK) called Igexin which was developed by a Chinese company to perform targeted advertising services was found to have been compromised by attackers to sneak malware into Android devices.
The SDK was spotted by mobile security outfits Lookout, according to a report which said the advertising software used by over 500 apps available on the Play Store had been hacked by attackers and used to deliver malware to devices. Igexin was originally designed to get targeted advertisements to users of certain apps and thereby generate revenue for the App developers. To do this, the SDK collects user data and use the available info to provide targeted adverts.
The compromise of Igexin means that hackers can through the malware delivered your devices, lift your various information, remotely install other services that could do as much as record call logs and extract personal and sensitive data from your device too.
“While not all of these applications have been confirmed to download the malicious spying capability, Igexin could have introduced that functionality at their convenience,” Lookout security engineers Adam Bauer and Christoph Hebeisen said in the report.
The extent of the damage done by this compromise is still hard to tell because of the popularity of Igexin among some of the most popular apps and services in the Play store. It is, however, relieving to know that devices with mobile antivirus software are safe from the attack, the safety of unprotected devices may not be guaranteed.
Google has been taking a more aggressive approach to ensuring the safety of its apps marketplace but occasionally malicious and dangerous threat still slip through. It is therefore imperative that users make use of additional protection such as proven antivirus services.
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