Google mops up over 5K offending Android apps that were found to be spreading Terracotta malware in Play Store / Digital Information World

A cyber security team at White Ops recently spotted an undergoing attack on Android devices and instantly reported the issue to Google. When Google looked into the matter, it was found out that some offending apps were circulating, which were a part of this attack. Google has gotten rid of these apps on Play Store, but even with the prompt action, these apps had been downloaded thousands of times and had infected more than 65000 Android devices in June only.

The nature of this attack is such that the users were lured to receive a pair of new trainers within 14 days of installing some apps and filling out their information through seemingly innocuous ‘app installing procedures’. Now, these apps were filled with malicious software, and once installed, they would sneakily set adware in the users’ device. This adware would run ads in the background without the user ever knowing about them!

These ads would never appear on the screen, so they were very hard to spot. This way, the ads would keep running, and cybercriminals would keep making hefty sums of money.

Google has taken care of this issue now, but it was also revealed that this attack is not new as such. ‘Operation Terracotta’ began in 2019 actually, and by the time White Ops spotted it, it had already penetrated well and had already affected thousands of Android users.

The team of White Ops has explained that such scams are not new and have been attacking users for a long time. This is a tactic to gain as much personal information from the users as possible through questions and intrusive ads, while they provided no other benefit to them. However, this attack was very well-designed by people who had advanced knowledge to use the technology so effectively and pulling off the adware fraud without much trouble, and for so long already. Under pretenses, these attackers have every knowledge about ad technology and ad verification systems, and that was the reason why it took the White Ops so long to detect the attack.

Google has said that with the help of White Ops and their investigation, the company was able to connect this case with a set of mobile apps that were found previously. Now, Google says that it has taken care of this issue and hope that things will get back to normal soon.



Read next: Study reveals that in-app ad issues are resolved on Google Play more quickly than on Apple App Store

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