malware
(Photo : Pexels/Torsten Dettlaff) Malware Google Play Store

A new malware has been detected on Google Play Store in an app that poses as Netflix, a popular movie streaming service that is used by millions of subscribers around the world.

The app is called FlixOnline and it claims to offer uses two months of premium Netflix access for free. It has now been removed by Google from the Play Store.

Fake Netflix

According to Check Point Research, the malware on Google Play that is hidden in a fake Netflix application called FlixOnline is capable of spreading itself through users' WhatsApp messages.

If the user downloaded the app and granted the malware the appropriate permissions, it can automatically reply to the victim's incoming WhatsApp messages.

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The blog stated that this could have allowed hackers to initiate phishing attacks and steal the personal information of the user from their WhatsApp accounts. The alarming thing is that before being removed, the app had been downloaded by more than 500 users.

The malicious messages that is sent to WhatsApp users states the following: "2 Months of Netflix Premium Free at no cost For REASON OF QUARANTINE (CORONA VIRUS)* Get 2 Months of Netflix Premium Free anywhere in the world for 60 days."

It would then contain the link to the infected app.

Another alarming discovery is that once the user permissions are granted to the malicious app, the malware displays a landing page it receives from the C&C server and immediately hides its icon, making it difficult for the user to detect and remove it.

The FlixOnline app, if downloaded, will monitor the user's chats and notifications on WhatsApp. It will also send automatic replies from a remote command to the user's incoming messages. 

In order to stay protected, it is advised to be aware of fake apps that are floating on Google Play Store that do not have that many downloads, ones that do not have good ratings and those that make fake claims, as per Threat Post. 

How does malware affect your device?

Malware is malicious software that can sneak onto a device. It is written with the intent to cause harm, it can include viruses, Trojans, computer worms, spyware, and ransomware, according to MalwareBytes.

Cybercriminals can use malware to access a user's personal data and use that sensitive information to commit identity theft or fraud.

Viruses are a type of malware that infiltrate a computer or other devices and their programs. A cybercriminal may be able to install a virus on the device without the user's knowledge or consent.

The virus may then be able to insert new, malicious code on the device that can monitor and manipulate the user's online activity.

Malware is made to create revenue for cybercriminals. It can steal the people's information, make their device send SMS messages to premium rate text services, or install adware that forces people to view web pages or download apps.

Information stealers can steal your personal data, contact list, location, passwords, and more. With malware, cybercriminals can access people's devices and steal their information for their own use or to sell on the dark web.

Hackers also use ransomware to lock devices and encrypt personal data. Then they can demand a ransom payment from the victim in order to regain access to their files.

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Written by Sieeka Khan

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