Pre-Installed Apps Causing Malware Attacks

Almost all phones come with pre-installed apps. While most of these apps may be useful, some of them take up unnecessary space, and some may be downright malicious. Quick Heal Labs has reported over 1260 incidents of malware that came with pre-installed apps in mobile devices last year. Amongst these, the highest incidents were of a malware that goes by the name ‘Android.Gopf.A.’ Having the same propagation method is another malware that was detected by Quick Heal; it is called MouaBad or Oldboot.

How does Android.Gopf.A. work: Android.Gopf.A. works in conjunction with ordinary Android apps, leaving users clueless about its existence until they are hit by an inflated mobile bill. It performs the following operations: Silently uploads device information like IMEI, MAC addresses, phone model, installed applications list, etc., to an unknown, external server. Downloads various other apps using mobile data. Damage caused by the malware- Unwanted and inflated phone bill.

How does MouaBad or Oldboot work: This is a sophisticated malware designed to hide its activities in the infected phone. It performs the following operations: Sends premium SMS messages, installs additional applications to extend its functionality and obtains privileged access, making it difficult to be detected or removed from infected devices causing unwanted and inflated phone bill.

Tips to stay safe:
1. Only install apps from trusted and official play stores such as Google Play.
2. Go for reputed and trusted mobile device brands.
3. Ensure that the device you are buying comes with an original receipt mentioning the IMEI number, warranty, model number, and manufacturer.
4. It is important to crosscheck your device’s IMEI number with the one mentioned on the packaging. Dialing *#06# will display the number on your device.
5. Prefer buying phones from an authorized dealer.
6. Protect your phone with a reputed mobile security app like Quick Heal Total Security for Android.
7. Check your phone bills for irregular or unknown charges.
For normal users, it is difficult to tell a genuine pre-installed app from a malicious one. However, going for a trusted and popular brand, and having a mobile security app installed, should keep you in a safe spot.

(Source: Press release)


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