Beware of Google Play Store apps stealing personal data, NCC alerts

November 14, 2022

 Beware of Google Play Store apps stealing personal data, NCC alerts
A malware

Telephone, computer, and other electronic device users have been alerted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to avoid downloading mobile applications from the ‘Mobile Apps Group’ available on Google Play Store.

The NCC warns the group releases apps containing trojans and adware harmful to users and their privacy.

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“The Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT) has continued to observe and monitor the constant introduction of malicious mobile applications into Google Play Store,” NCC-CSIRT warned in an advisory.

“Mobile Apps Group has a history of distributing malware-infected apps through the Google Play store, and the current batch of apps has already been downloaded over a million times.”

The NCC listed the group’s malicious apps to include Bluetooth Auto Connect; Bluetooth App Sender; Driver: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB; and Mobile transfer: smart switch.

It warned malicious activities of these apps are high in probability and potential to do damage.

Modus operandi

“The apps will delay the display of ads for up to three days after installation to avoid detection,” the NCC explained, per reports.

“However, once this period has passed, the user is bombarded with advertisements and is directed to malicious phishing websites in the Chrome browser. While the device is idle, the malicious app can open Chrome tabs in the background.

“Some of the sites it opens may appear to be harmless, but they are pay-per-click pages that generate revenue for the developers when clicked on.”

The NCC said the consequences of installing malicious apps include

  • User being bombarded with advertisements
  • Theft of sensitive user data
  • User privacy and data being jeopardised
  • Clicking on ads resulting in the stealth download or installation of additional malware

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