Researchers Find Google Play Store Apps Were Actually Government Malware

Discussion in 'Headline News' started by RickAgresta, Mar 29, 2019.

  1. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

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    Posters note: is reported to be good on facts, even if their wording is somewhat biased (

    Security researchers have found a new kind of government malware that was hiding in plain sight within apps on Android’s Play Store. And they appear to have uncovered a case of lawful intercept gone wrong.

    Hackers working for a surveillance company infected hundreds of people with several malicious Android apps that were hosted on the official Google Play Store for months, Motherboard has learned.

    In the past, both government hackers and those working for criminal organizations have uploaded malicious apps to the Play Store. This new case once again highlights the limits of Google’s filters that are intended to prevent malware from slipping onto the Play Store. In this case, more than 20 malicious apps went unnoticed by Google over the course of roughly two years.

    Motherboard has also learned of a new kind of Android malware on the Google Play store that was sold to the Italian government by a company that sells surveillance cameras but was not known to produce malware until now. Experts told Motherboard the operation may have ensnared innocent victims as the spyware appears to have been faulty and poorly targeted. Legal and law enforcement experts told Motherboard the spyware could be illegal.

    The spyware apps were discovered and studied in a joint investigation by researchers from Security Without Borders, a non-profit that often investigates threats against dissidents and human rights defenders, and Motherboard. The researchers published a detailed, technical report of their findings on Friday.

    “We identified previously unknown spyware apps being successfully uploaded on Google Play Store multiple times over the course of over two years. These apps would remain available on the Play Store for months and would eventually be re-uploaded,” the researchers wrote.

    Lukas Stefanko, a researcher at security firm ESET, who specializes in Android malware but was not involved in the Security Without Borders research, told Motherboard that it’s alarming, but not surprising, that malware continues to make its way past the Google Play Store’s filters.

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  2. Hook

    Hook Professional Daydreamer

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    Just to be clear, in this case "The Government" is the Italian government. But if you don't think this is going on in many places, you aren't paying attention. I remember being amazed at how shocked people were about Snowden's revelations about NSA monitoring. Did no one pay attention to the Patriot act?
    scjjtt, jigwashere and lelisa13p like this.
  3. internetpilot

    internetpilot Flying Dog (...duh...)

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    Did they publish a list of the apps somewhere?
    scjjtt likes this.

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