Google pulls 500+ vulnerable apps from Play Store – Updated Nov. 2017

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Update 11/06/2017

According to media reports, fraudsters managed to get fake WhatsApp apps published in Google’s Play Store. One of these fake versions has already fooled more than 1 million users to download the app. Don’t fall for it!

Original post

After the eight hijacked Chrome extensions that were pulled from Google’s browser webstore at the beginning of the month, Google now removed over 500 apps with more than 100m downloads from its Play Store. That’s a rather high number, especially if you’re considering that they have been removed all at once.  So what happened?

Beware of SDKs bearing gifts

If you know apps, you know that app developers usually try to make at least some money out of them – and one of the most common ways to do so is to deliver advertisements to customers in order to generate revenue. Igexin, a Chinese-made software development kit (SDK), promises developers to help with exactly that by making it easy to perform targeted advertising services. Sounds good, right?

But all was not good. Researchers at Lookout started to investigate some suspicious traffic Igexin was creating by downloading large encrypted files from servers that were known to have dished out malware in the past.

“This sort of traffic is often the result of malware that downloads and executes code after an initially “clean” app is installed, in order to evade detection,” says Lookout in their blog article. With other words, the SDK could have easily been used for malicious activities, making the users its victims and siphoning their personal data.

More than 500 apps compromised

The only two compromised apps mentioned by name were Lucky Cash with more than 1 million downloads and SelfieCity which was downloaded more than 5 million times. Other apps include games targeted toward teens, weather apps, photo editors — you name it. All in all the vulnerable apps were downloaded more than 100m times.

There is no need to be worried though: as soon as Google was informed about the apps, they were pulled from the app store and their developers were informed.

Does that mean the story gets a happy end? Well, kind of. You can be sure though that incidents like this will increase rather than decrease and that you will not always be that lucky. That’s why it is important to also make sure your mobile devices are as secure as possible and have an up to date antivirus installed.

Source : blog.avira.com

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Avira Antivirus Scout: On Early Access – Updated 2017

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Update 2017

We learned a lot. More languages were added. Bugs fixed. The product now is at a stage where it can leave the Early Access phase … and where we remove the “Early access” sign from the download button.

Original Post

Did you know:  Our Avira Scout browser is finally freely available for everyone as an early access version. There are a few things you might want to know though, before downloading it.

Why Early Access?

The short version: Chicken or egg?

To test our user interface, we have to invite as many different people as possible. To achieve this diversity, we wanted to present the user interface not only to our beta testers – who tend to be very technical skilled – but to the broader public.

In addition to that we’re also partnering with several open source projects. We announced that we will use their technology in our browser but having the prototype available for them only when the partners have to sign some legal letter is not satisfying.

That’s the reason why we decided to release the browser as soon as it has serious benefits for the users – which is NOW: https://www.avira.com/en/avira-scout/

It is important to mention that the Beta test will continue and will soon receive the next iteration of our Scout browser.

What to expect

If you are the run of the mill user who runs an out-of-the-box browser without any security modifications in form of add-ons, this browser will be quite a bit more secure than that. If you know what you are doing though and have a browser with AdBlock, anti-tracking, our ABS, a good search engine, and NoScript your browser should actually be more secure than our current setup. This will change of course.

How often can you expect updates

Avira Scout will be updated when Chrome updates or when we are releasing bugfixes. Our early access phase will be running for a couple of months while the browser will receive new features and improvements.

The extensions and the menu will be updated more frequently.

Known issues

Your feedback helps us build the fast, secure browser you’ve always wanted. That’s why we release early. Naturally there are still kinks and we hope you’ll help us smooth them out.

Known issues we’re working on:

  • Not all video and audio pages will work just yet: only open video codecs are currently offered. Learn more!
  • HTTPS-Everywhere and Privacy Badger may not support certain pages. Please give us your feedback to help us fix this.
  • Languages offered: German and English. The installer is in English only. We’re working of course to expand the list of available languages.
  • Not all features (e.g. desktop links) work on Windows 8 just yet.
  • Coming up: integrated antivirus scanner – working on it!

Source : blog.avira.com

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