The Check Point research team has discovered an extensive malware campaign on the Google Play™ store. Check Point Mobile Threat Prevention detected the first samples of malware we call “Turkish Clicker” on several customer devices. 

The malicious code was found in the apps “Fruit Life,” “City HD Wallpapers,” and “Adiyef Puzzle.” Google has removed all of these apps from Google Play.  

Like BrainTest, which Check Point researchers discovered in September 2015, this demonstrates how easy it is for fraudsters to publish malicious apps on official app stores like Google Play.

What is Turkish Clicker?

This malware is part of an ad network with a Command & Control (C&C) server located in Turkey. Several apps on Google Play contained this malware, and even though these apps have since been removed by Google, it wasn’t before they were downloaded by thousands of users. In at least one case, the app was available on Google Play for months before it was removed. Though the apps no longer appear in Google Play, they are still available on third party stores and remain on devices that installed them.  

The app packages containing malware were:

 

Adiyef Puzzle

More importantly, Check Point researchers managed to inspect the C&C server and found 105 other package names and additional C&Cs likely related to this attack. A complete list of suspicious packages and C&Cs found on the original server is published at the end of this blog post.

How was it discovered and how does it work?

The first indication that the apps were malicious was when Check Point Mobile Threat Prevention detected unusual window overlay activity in the apps. On further investigation, researchers uncovered the full extent of the malicious activity going on behind the scenes.

After a user installs an infected app, it performs a set of actions without the user’s consent. First, it silently downloads an auto-clicking JavaScript and a list of URLs. The app then opens every URL in an invisible window.

Next, it executes the Javascript which clicks all of the clickable objects in every opened web page, including all of the advertisements. This was likely the entire objective of the campaign and was achieved remarkably well since the apps can generate enormous amounts of traffic this way.

This is the Javascript used by the apps:

function fireEvent(e, n) {

   var i = e;

   if (document.createEvent) {

       var t = document.createEvent(“MouseEvents”);

       t.initEvent(n, !0, !1), i.dispatchEvent(t)

   } else document.createEventObject && i.fireEvent(“on” + n)

}

for (var links = document.getElementsByTagName(“a”), elmalar = null, i = 0; i0) {

   fireEvent(document.links[i], “mouseover”), fireEvent(document.links[i], “mousedown”), fireEvent(document.links[i], “click”);

   break

}

While this malicious activity is happening, affected users receive no alerts and remain completely unaware of the sites being opened and ads being clicked. In at least one instance the sites being opened were pornographic in nature.

  1. App is downloaded from Google Play
  2. App downloads URL list and JS
  3. App secretly opens all the URLs on the list
  4. JavaScript is executed, clicking all adds on the opened pages

How can you protect yourself?

The discovery of previously unknown malware emphasizes the importance of implementing security solutions that can detect and mitigate threats. Although this malware was only intended to generate ad revenue, the next attack could easily target corporate or personal information on infected devices. That could put personal financial data, business records, and other sensitive information at risk.

Check Point recommends users of smartphones and tablets to download apps only from official sources and from known or trusted developers to minimize exposure to potential threats. Also, organizations who need to protect sensitive data on mobile devices should consider using a solution like Check Point Mobile Threat Prevention which is capable of identifying threats like this one.

C&Cs and Suspicious Package Names:

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