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Porn Clicker Malware Nesting in Google Play

It’s not the first time Android’s Google Play has been found harboring a malicious application that both hides its presence and performs activities that generate some form of revenue for the attacker.

Last year we not only saw the proliferation of aggressive adware, but also some new CAPTCHA-bypassing threats that subscribed users to a premium-rated number, both hosted in Google Official marketplace.

A new porn clicker malware has been found nested in nine Google Play apps — six have since been removed, but three are still available for download.

How Does the Clicker Work?

While the applications do perform various clean actions associated with displaying photos with various landmarks around the work or starting a fully functional Sudoku game, what happens in the background is an entirely different thing.

The names of these Google Play applications might not raise any eyebrows of unsuspecting users – Seyrap Tep, Seyran Tep 4, and Sudoku 6 – but make no mistake that, while they might seem to work, their true purpose is completely different from what you’re lead to believe.

Porn Clicker Malware Nesting in Google Play

Fig. 1 – Screenshots with what the user sees in the displayed interface

After the apps are launched, they connect to a series of hardcoded websites from which they pull a list of porn sites, without the user suspecting anything. Each link to porn websites parsed from the list is opened in its own hidden window instance, allowing the malware to effectively open porn websites while the user is either playing Sudoku or viewing various images.

Porn Clicker Malware Nesting in Google Play

Fig. 2 – Hidden window for opening the list of porn websites

Every 60 seconds a new hidden window – placed outside the visible window of the application – is launched and accesses one of the porn websites in the fetched list.

Porn Clicker Malware Nesting in Google Play

Fig. 3 – 60 seconds timer loop for starting new services

Here’s the list of apps that – at the time of writing – are still available on Google Play:

MD5 Package Name Version
749ba2d5cacf2f991804ee69afcbcd6b com.seyran.tep4 1.0a
b9fa94956f99a8afb8b0a1aba64fdb82 com.ss.dok6 6
cec2e1b08f980d0fab2a916db378505c com.seyran.tep 6

And here’s the list of apps that have been available in Google Play, but have since been removed:

MD5 Package Name Version
8b69982a787f6b61fcba42c6a00a8c49 com.bla.mla2 1.0a
4ca80d37d962f04e3d1a93264a2a20b4 com.bla.mla5 1.0a
369788c204488eaee731bb68fad73bb7 com.bla.mla 1.0a
a9e534aeafd2a57311801fecabce7538 com.bla.mla6 1.0a
3996c4a8f09267c02450638ebd58db0e com.bla.mla4 1.0a
5ad5e70cc29cdd38eeb47ac31d881c43 com.bla.mla3 1.0a

Bitdefender detects this particular form of porn clicker malware as Android.Trojan.Clicker.V.

Implications

The list of address includes 175 porn websites that are constantly visited by infected victims, potentially making hundreds and even thousands of dollars for the malware developers from affiliate fees.

Porn clickers have been known to generate substantial revenue for attackers, especially if they’re downloaded by thousands of users who unsuspectingly click the same ads on porn websites. One of the apps has between 1,000 and 5,000 installs which, for a basic app that simply displays a couple of images (Seyran Tep 4), is quite a lot.

On a more personal note, if you were infected with one of these porn clickers you could end up paying a visit to your local work IT manager to explain why you are browsing so much porn on the company Wi-Fi. You could be considered a future company security risk and lose the privilege of bringing your own devices to work.

Word of caution

While it is true that these applications have been downloaded from the official Google Play marketplace and not some third-party store, average users are highly encouraged to make use of a mobile security solution that can detect such threats.

Also, it’s also advised to check out the app’s rating and comments, as it’s sometimes a good indicator that something might be wrong with app.

Note: This article is based on technical information provided courtesy of Iulian Artenie Muntean, Bitdefender Researcher.

About The Author

Security Researcher

Liviu Arsene is the proud owner of the secret to the fountain of never-ending energy. That’s what’s been helping him work his everything off as a passionate tech news editor for the past couple of years. He is the youngest and most restless member of the Bitdefender writer team and he covers mobile malware and security topics with fervor and a twist. His passions revolve around gadgets and technology, and he’s always ready to write about what’s hot and trendy out there in geek universe.

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