A malicious application that was impersonating an alternate version of Telegram became available on the Google Play Store and was installed over 100,000 times by Android smartphone users before being removed from the store. MobonoGram 2019 claimed to offer more features than the official app, but carried malware known as Android.Fakeyouwon, a Trojan horse. The software even had basic messaging functions, but in the meantime, it ran services and accessed a number of malicious, unauthorized websites hidden in the background.
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Malicious app pretended to be Telegram's alternate version to infect cell phones Photo: Playback / Symantec
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Apparently created from the actual open Telegram code, the application has been downloaded in several countries and could be used in English or Persian language. Five updates were even published by the developer, registered as RamKal Developers. According to a survey by the virtual security company Symantec, every time the app was launched or any app was installed or updated on the phone, multiple suspicious actions were executed.
Symantec researchers believe that the purpose of criminals may have been to simulate ad clicks and increased traffic to generate profits. They also detected that a URL triggered an endless loop of requests to a website, which depleted the device's battery and could crash the system. The search also found other apps with similar behaviors. Between January and May 2019, the company blocked 1,235 family related infections of Android.Fakeyouwon malware.
Some of the websites accessed by the malware were connected to US and Singapore IP addresses. Photo: Reproduo / Symantec
According to the digital security firm, such a code structure is difficult to identify and thus easily enters Google Play. Some precautions can help the user to avoid this type of attack. Keep your phone operating system up to date and install a mobile security app. Do not download applications from unknown and dubious sources and pay close attention to the permissions requested by the programs. Also, don't forget to make frequent backups of important data.
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