These iOS and Android apps downloaded 13 million times hide a virus!

At this point, no one will be shocked to find out that mobile app stores may contain malware. If it is generally recommended to download applications only from the official catalogs of Apple and Google, do not believe that this is enough to protect yourself since new malware is discovered there regularly. As proof, the cybersecurity company Human Security has just published a list of a hundred applications hiding a adware.

This adware, which has more than 13 million installations, is believed to be the third generation of the Poseidon Android malware discovered in 2019. The second generation, dubbed Charybdis, dates from the end of 2020. The latest variant is called Scylla, and hides in apps on both iOS and Android.

Hidden advertisements

This new threat hijacks advertising developer tools (SDKs). First, it changes its ID, impersonating a better-known app in order to get higher-paying ads. Scylla loads ads in hidden windows to go unnoticed, and simulates clicks to increase revenue. On Android, the malware uses the WebView component, and even continues to display advertisements if the screen is turned off.

You can view the full list of affected apps in the report published by Human Security. The apps were reported to Google and Apple, who both took them down. On Android mobiles, they will be automatically deleted if Google Play Protect is activated. For others, and in particular iPhone users, it will be necessary to uninstall the applications concerned manually.

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