Most of these malicious apps were uploaded to the Play Store in October 2017 and were stealing credentials of VK.com users (a Russian based social networking site). Besides this, researchers also found several other apps that were published as unofficial clients for the popular messaging app Telegram, uploaded by the same group of malicious hackers.
How did the Android phishing attack work?
“A number of applications come with options where users can login via Facebook, Twitter or Google. While these are convenient for users, in case of malicious applications it is very risky to login via social accounts as they can steal your credentials. It is advised not to use “Login via social media” option until you are not sure of the legitimacy of the application and specifically “Never enter your password in apps”, said Ankush Johar, Director at Infosec Ventures.
Tips to mitigate Android phishing attack
Google recently launched “Google play protect”. Make sure that the application is verified by “Google Play Protect” else avoid downloading the app. Always check what all permission the app requires the users to allow before installation. Stay cautious with permissions that don’t seem legitimate, for instance, if a calculator app wants to access your call logs or messages it is clear that the app wants unnecessary permission and can be malicious. Trust your gut!, said Johar.
Don’t download apps from unknown sources, they can be infected with data-stealing malware hidden behind a genuine looking app. Stay away from pirated apps. Do not enter your confidential detail like your bank account details etc on the downloaded application. For added security, set your app store settings to “Do not allow third-party app downloads from untrusted sites.”