Autolycos malware has potentially affected 3+ million Android users – see if you should worry

Every now and then, you hear a story about some malware running rampant on smartphones – this is hardly anything new. Nevertheless, usually, when this happens on Android in particular, odds are the malware has been contracted through downloading apps from third-party app stores.

In general, the best way to avoid malware is by sticking to Google’s official Play Store. Every now and then, however, malware manages to get past Google’s security measures put in place to prevent malicious apps from being listed on the Play Store.

This is precisely the case this time around. Maxime Ingrao, a French security researcher working for EvinaTech, has found out about a critical liability laying around on Google’s Play Store. He shared this information via Twitter and has dubbed the malware “Autolycos”. His revelation was then given further attention via a dedicated article on BleepingComputer.

In essence, the malware works by subscribing users to premium app services, without their knowledge or consent. The victims then pay for the services with their debit/credit cards and only find out about the subscription when they receive the bill.

The malware is linked with a total of 8 applications, 2 of which are still available for download via the Play Store. Here comes the scary part. The applications in questions were originally listed on the Play Store in June of last year.

In over 1 year, the apps have been downloaded by more than 3 million users worldwide. This means that there are 3+ million potential victims. Google has yet to take down the two remaining malicious apps – Funny Camera, and Razer Keyboard and Theme.

Sammobile has compiled a list of the other 6 apps (which are no longer available on the Play Store) carrying the Autolycos malware here. It includes Vlog Star Video Editor, Creative 3D Launcher, Wow Beauty Camera, Gif Emoji Keyboard, Freeglow Camera 1.0.0 and Coco Camera v1.1.

Every user that has downloaded any of the aforementioned 8 apps is advised to remove them immediately from their device. Let us hope this is done before any major damage.


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