In the wake of WannaCry, 27 different apps materialized promising to protect your phone from the global ransomware attack.
But wait: WannaCry, which ensnared more than 200,000 computers around the world, doesn’t target phones. It used an exploit, discovered by the National Security Agency and leaked by hackers, that targeted outdated Windows systems.
Perhaps more alarming was that these apps were filled with malware — executing the very attacks these apps promised to protect against. First discovered by McAfee in late May, the flood of fake WannaCry protection apps points to a growing trend of viruses masquerading as antivirus apps.
RiskIQ, a cybersecurity firm, found seven apps related to WannaCry in the Google Play store and two in Apple’s App Store that demanded excessive permissions such as knowing your phone’s wake password. One of the phony WannaCry apps is actually blacklisted by RiskIQ’s standards because of the red flags it raised.
Researchers found hundreds of fraudulent antivirus apps on the market — fakes packed with adware, Trojans and sources of malware.
“There has been a recent rise in fake WannaCry ‘protectors,’ apps that use fear and hysteria around the self-propagating ransomware to drive downloads, even though mobile systems are safe from its impact,” a RiskIQ spokeswoman said.
It’s another unsettling discovery among the many cyberthreats now hanging over our heads. With seemingly everyone and everything connected over the internet, we’re all just one bad download or weak password away from a bad situation. In recent months alone, besides WannaCry, we’ve had to worry about malware…