Android WARNING: Dangerous Google Play Store app steals sensitive data, are YOU affected?

Android smartphone users are being warned about a Google Play Store app that covertly collects sensitive data from devices.

The Google Play Store app steals personal information from victims and hijacks Android phones to generate money for cybercriminals.

Once the app is installed on an Android phone, it can steal phone numbers, a user’s location and receive SMS messages that are sent to the victim.

The latter may be most worrying to Android smartphone fans as such informations could be used for blackmail purposes.

The malware threat was unearthed by researchers at RiskIQ and it surrounds the ‘Advanced Battery Saver’ app found on the Google Play Store.

In a blog post, the cyber security firm explained that the Android app, surprisingly, does exactly what it says it will do.

It claims it will reduce battery strain, increase battery life and stop processes using unnecessary resources.

The Android app does do that, however it also gains permission to access sensitive user data which it steals.

It also runs an ad-clicker in the background that tricks victims into clicking on adverts that generate revenue for the malware authors.

RiskIQ’s researchers Aaron Inness and Yonathan Klijnsma said: “The text messages are used in combination with premium text messages from some of the ads it will be clicking.

“The content of the text messages is used in the ad-clicking by mapping the IDs for the messages back to the IDs from the ads—another source of income for the operators.”

The malicious app has been installed on around 60,000 devices worldwide.

As HackRead reported, this suggests that those behind the malware campaign could have made a considerable profit from victims.

If you have installed Advanced Battery Saver app on your Android phone or tablet then make sure you remove it right away.

Also, run an anti-malware scan to check for any malicious software that the app could have left behind.

In other Android news, recently reported on other Google Play Store apps that security experts said collected sensitive user data.

The data collection shock was discovered by Andrey Meshkov, co-founder of Adguard, who described it as a “huge spyware campaign”.

According to Meshkov’s findings, the data collection campaign affects Android apps as well as extensions for the market leading Google Chrome internet browser.

The security expert said once a victim is logged into their Facebook account the Chrome extensions scrape data immediately after the browser starts up.

Meshkov said all Facebook data is scraped and it even tries to go through a victim’s purchase history.

Other data that is targeted includes posts, sponsored posts, tweets, YouTube videos and adverts a victim has seen and interacted with.

This data is then collected and sent to a third-party firm called Unimania who it is claimed then sells the data to other parties for revenue.

Adguard said a number of Android apps on the Google Play Store have been found to operate in the same way as the offending Chrome extensions.

One of these is an alternative Facebook client called Fast which has been downloaded more than 10 million times.

The other app is Fast Lite, run by the same developers, which the Google Play Store says has over one million installs

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