If you’ve got any of these 17 apps saved on your iPhone, you’d best delete them as soon as possible.
Apple has confirmed the applications have now been wiped from its App Store, but you’ll still need to manually delete them from your smartphone if you’d already downloaded and run the software. The apps, which were all created by a single developer, were maliciously collecting advertising revenue behind iPhone owners’ backs.
Fortunately, mobile security firm Wandera was able to sniff-out the malicious software. For users, it would be almost impossible to tell that anything was wrong, since the apps did exactly what they promised on the tin… except that they were secretly fraud in the background on your iPhone too.
“The objective of most clicker trojans is to generate revenue for the attacker on a pay-per-click basis by inflating website traffic. They can also be used to drain the budget of a competitor by artificially inflating the balance owed to the ad network,” the security firm explains.
Although the apps weren’t designed to cause any direct harm to users or their smartphones themselves, the nefarious behind-the-scenes activity would drain mobile data faster than usual, so if you’re not on an unlimited 4G plan – it would cost you each month. Secondly, the activity from the apps could also cost you precious battery life, as well as slowing down your phone, since it’s having to process all the extra ad requests.
So, deleting the software could see a drop in any additional monthly charges from your network provider, faster performance, as well as a few more hours battery life, which are all pretty substantial benefits.
Wandera claims these iPhone apps were able to Apple’s stringent review process since the malicious code was never inside the apps themselves – therefore there was nothing for Apple to detect when scanning them before allowing them onto the App Store. Instead, the apps would receive instructions to begin their activities from a remote server hosted by the developers.
Apple says it’s now improving the app review process to stop this happening in future.
The same server was also designed to control a similar set of Android apps. Unfortunately, the weaker security on the Android operating system meant that the developer was able to go even further with these malicious apps – causing direct harm to the user.
According to the Wandera security team, “Android apps communicating with the same server were gathering private information from the user’s device, such as the make and model of the device, the user’s country of residence and various configuration details.
“One example involved users who had been fraudulently subscribed to expensive content services following the installation of an infected app.”
The full list of infected apps:
- RTO Vehicle Information
- EMI Calculator & Loan Planner
- File Manager – Documents
- Smart GPS Speedometer
- CrickOne – Live Cricket Scores
- Daily Fitness – Yoga Poses
- FM Radio – Internet Radio
- My Train Info – IRCTC & PNR (not listed under developer profile)
- Around Me Place Finder
- Easy Contacts Backup Manager
- Ramadan Times 2019
- Restaurant Finder – Find Food
- BMI Calculator – BMR Calc
- Dual Accounts
- Video Editor – Mute Video
- Islamic World – Qibla
- Smart Video Compressor
All 17 infected apps are published on the App Stores in various countries by the same developer, India-based AppAspect Technologies Pvt. Ltd. So, if you spot the name on a listing of an app that looks good… don’t download it.