Researchers say mobile malware purveyors have been abusing a bug in the Google Android platform that lets them sneak malicious code into mobile apps and evade security scanning tools. Google says it has updated its app malware detection mechanisms in response to the new research.
At issue is a mobile malware obfuscation method identified by researchers at ThreatFabric, a security firm based in Amsterdam. Aleksandr Eremin, a senior malware analyst at the company, told KrebsOnSecurity they recently encountered a number of mobile banking trojans abusing a bug present in all Android OS versions that involves corrupting components of an app so that its new evil bits will be ignored as invalid by popular mobile security scanning tools, while the app as a whole gets accepted as valid by Android OS and successfully installed.
“There is malware that is patching the .apk file [the app installation file], so that the platform is still treating it as valid and runs all the malicious actions it’s designed to do, while at the same time a lot of tools designed to unpack and decompile these apps fail to process the code,” Eremin explained.