All Android apps require access permissions to smartphones to work: for example if we install an app to take photos, it is normal that it must have authorization for the camera. A few more doubts should come to us if it requires access to the contact list or to the GPS. VPN Pro researchers have noted that the Viva Video app requires abnormal permissions, such as authorization to access the GPS and external memory of the device. Cybersecurity experts went even deeper and found that the Indian army had advised against their troops in 2017 to install the app on their smartphone, because they were suspected of hide spyware, a particular virus capable of taking possession of the device and spying on all the actions of a person. Suspicions that have never been confirmed, however.
The app that hides a virus: the report
The search for VPN Pro is very detailed and has delved deeply into the matter. In addition to VivaVideo that requires too many authorizations, experts have discovered other apps (based in Hangzhou in China) that show the same problems. In total, including VivaVideo, I am 6 the “special” apps.
The attention of the researchers focused on VidStatus, an app designed exclusively to create videos to be published in the Status section of WhatsApp with over 50 million downloads and widely used in India. In addition to requesting the usual permissions (GPS, contacts and the call list), the experts have found malware using a Microsoft tool. The virus in question is a trojan and is known by the name of AndroidOS / AndroRat. Trojans are one of the most dangerous and devious types of malware: they get hold of the device and steal the bank account credentials. You can imagine the reason for yourself: after a few hours the bill has dried up.
6 dangerous Android apps: what they are
VPN Pro he also wrote one list with 6 potentially dangerous apps:
- SlidePlus – Photo Slideshow Maker;
- Tempo – Music Video Editor with Effects;
- VivaVideo PRO Video Editor HD;
- VivaCut – Pro Video Editor APP;
- VidStatus – Status Video & Status Downloader.
Although not all developed by the Chinese software house, the apps have a similar structure and use the same APIs. As you can guess from the name, these are applications that allow you to edit videos by adding filters and music.
How to defend yourself from these applications
Although Google continues to invest in improving the Google Play Protect, the protection system designed for the Google Play Store, the results of the last few months indicate that there are still major problems. Every month there are at least a dozen apps that hide adware, that is, viruses that display deceptive advertisements. This time the fear of cybersecurity experts is that the 6 apps found hide viruses that take possession of smartphones.
How to defend yourself from this type of app? Here are some tips to follow:
- Install an antivirus for Android smartphones. On the Google Play Store there are many, even free, which ensure a minimum of protection.
- Install only “verified” applications and always check the reviews of other users.
- Uninstall the apps they require abnormal authorizations and which are not useful for the operation of the application itself.
- Download applications only from official stores (but in this case the apps were present directly on the Google Play Store).