Facebook was used to spread Android viruses to users in Brazil

Facebook ads have been used as a weapon to spread viruses that deliver fraudulent ads to Android users, with Brazil among the hardest hit countries. The fake apps were disguised as cleaning and security software and reached more than seven million downloads through the Google Play Store.

The software didn’t deliver what it promised, of course, as it disguised itself as operating system icons and even with images from the platform’s own official store as a way to stay on victims’ smartphones for as long as possible. Meanwhile, they were showing fraudulent advertisements to users, with proceeds going directly into the scammers’ pockets.

By infecting a device, the adware abused an Android component called Contact Provider, which allows communication between the device and servers connected to the internet. This switch happened every time a new app was opened or downloaded by the user, with malicious advertisements being displayed in place of the real ones or on superimposed screens, so that the victim did not notice the problem.

Some of the fake apps used in Android smartphone contamination campaign; Brazil is among the countries most affected by adware released via Facebook (Image: Reproduction/McAfee)

The warning about the campaign was made by security researchers at McAfee, who released the list of malicious software. They are as follows:

  1. Junk Cleaner, cn.junk.clean.plp;
  2. Full Clean -Clean Cache, org.stemp.fll.clean;
  3. Quick Cleaner, org.qck.cle.oyo;
  4. Keep Clean, org.clean.sys.lunch;
  5. Power Doctor, com.power.doctor.mnb;

  6. Super Clean, com.super.clean.zaz;
  7. Fingertip Cleaner, com.fingertip.clean.cvb;
  8. Windy Clean, in.phone.clean.www;
  9. Cool Clean, syn.clean.cool.zbc;
  10. Strong Clean, in.memory.sys.clean;
  11. EasyCleaner, com.easy.clean.ipz;
  12. Carpet Clean, og.crp.cln.zda;
  13. Meteor Clean , org.ssl.wind.clean.

The first four nominated apps alone garnered more than a million downloads each, while the next six reached the mark of 500,000 installations each. Facebook pages and advertisements displayed on the social network were the main vector of contamination, even though the spaces had few followers and were newly created, clear signs of a malicious campaign in progress.

According to a survey by the security company, our country is the third most affected, behind South Korea and Japan. McAfee identified contaminations on all continents, with an emphasis on Turkey, the United States, Mexico and Indonesia.

While the apps have already been removed from the Play Store by Google, users who downloaded them before that are still at risk. The recommendation is that victims look for applications in their download history and scour the list of downloaded software for misleading icons or elements that shouldn’t be there.

In addition, when downloading, especially when it comes to security or cleaning options, the ideal is to look for recognized apps, from renowned brands and that have good reviews. A survey, for example, helps to identify good software from reviews in the press and also indicators of possible danger for lesser-known solutions.

Source: McAfee

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