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Google Combatting Ghost Push, or "Gooligan" Malware

     
7:04 pm on Dec 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Google has said it's working hard in the fight against Ghost Push, or "Gooligan" Malware which has achieved additional exposure recently.

Ghost Push tried to get users to install more Android apps that are in effect malware. Users are likely to fall foul by installing outside of the Play store, but once the malware is on the system it will carry out its deeds. Reports suggest as many as 13,000 devices per day are becoming impacted.

Here's Google's take on this.
[plus.google.com...]
No evidence of user data access: In addition to rolling back the application installs created by Ghost Push, we used automated tools to look for signs of other fraudulent activity within the affected Google accounts. None were found. The motivation behind Ghost Push is to promote apps, not steal information, and that held true for this variant.


Here's the report from Forbes which make sit sensationalist.
A new variant of Android malware is responsible for what’s believed to be the biggest single theft of Google accounts on record. The so-called Gooligan strain has infected as many as 1.3 million Android phones since August, completely prising the devices open and stealing the tokens users are given to verify they are authorized to access accounts. Its main aim, though, is not to pilfer all that juicy data in Gmail or Docs, but to force users into downloading apps as part of a huge advertising fraud scheme, making as much as $320,000 a month. Android 'Gooligan' Hackers Just Scored The Biggest Ever Theft Of Google Accounts [forbes.com]
7:44 am on Dec 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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AFAIK all Android builds have a tick box set to *not* allow 3rd party app (those not in Google Play) installs by default.

So a user would need to untick that box to install a 3rd party app that has not been vetted by Google.

Seems a lot of Android users have chose to take their chances going outside of Google's protection and have been burnt.

So why have these users chosen to do this? Is Google Play not offering enough popular app choices?
12:20 pm on Dec 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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It's also worth mentioning that many genuine businesses offer their apps as download from their site, and that may be why someone has clicked the option. Should we as webmasters be offering this option? I don't recommend it at all.

Security really needs to be much higher on the average user's radar, imho.
12:39 pm on Dec 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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On my Android phone I have apps for banking, car insurance, a music player, and a bunch more... all of them offered at the company websites but I have always downloaded from the Google store. For as much as these phones cost, I'm very careful to take care of them.

So far no viruses... and never had a virus on a computer either (knock on silicon)
 

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