Once again, numerous Android apps with suspicious behavior have surfaced online. According to researchers, thousands of these Android apps on app stores (including Play Store) contain backdoors. Whereas, numerous others contain blacklist secrets.
Android Apps With Backdoors
Researchers from The Ohio State University, New York University, and CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security have conducted a detailed analysis of various mobile apps. According to the detailed shared in their research paper, thousands of Android apps exist online that contain backdoors.
In brief, they developed a tool named “InputScope” to unveil vulnerabilities and hidden behaviours of mobile applications. The tool analyzes the apps’ input validation behavior to uncover these hidden traits.
Using this tool the researchers analyzed 150,000 Android apps from various app stores. These included the top 100,000 apps from Google Play Store, top 20,000 apps from an outside app store, and 30,000 pre-installed Samsung apps. They then found thousands of these Android apps to have backdoors.
We identified 12,706 apps containing a variety of backdoors such as secret access keys, master passwords, and secret commands that can allow users to access admin-only functions or attackers to gain unauthorized access to users’ accounts. Also, our analysis discovered 4,028 apps validating user input against blacklisted words of different categories such as insults, racial discrimination, political leader names, and mass incidents.
After completing their study, the researchers followed responsible disclosure. They contacted all app developers to inform them of the flaws via their contact details available.
For unpatched apps, the researchers preferred to keep their names hidden until the developers issue the fixes. Though, some of these apps have patched the flaws, for which the researchers disclosed the package names
There is still a huge number of apps exhibiting such dubious behaviors with a large number of these being unpatched which continue to pose a threat to Android users.
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