Apple has confirmed that it has removed as many as 17 apps from the App Store after it was found that they contained malware.
Uncovered by researchers at security company Wandera, the 17 applications cover a range of categories including productivity, platform utilities, and travel. All 17 were found to be communicating with the same command-and-control server, which uses strong encryption in an effort to hide investigation into the malicious activity.
“The clicker trojan module discovered in this group of applications is designed to carry out ad fraud-related tasks in the background, such as continuously opening web pages or clicking links without any user interaction,” said the company. “The objective of most clicker trojans is to generate revenue for the attacker on a pay-per-click basis by inflating website traffic. They can also be used to drain the budget of a competitor by artificially inflating the balance owed to the ad network.”
While no direct damage was done to the app user or their device, the background activity would use up mobile data, while also potentially slowing the device and draining the battery.
Wandera says the apps were able to evade the App Store review process, due to the fact that the apps didn’t contain malicious code, but instead received their instructions on what to do from a remote server.
Here’s the full list of the affected apps:
- RTO Vehicle Information
- EMI Calculator & Loan Planner
- File Manager – Documents
- Smart GPS Speedometer
- CrickOne – Live Cricket Scores
- Daily Fitness – Yoga Poses
- FM Radio – Internet Radio
- My Train Info – IRCTC & PNR (not listed under developer profile)
- Around Me Place Finder
- Easy Contacts Backup Manager
- Ramadan Times 2019
- Restaurant Finder – Find Food
- BMI Calculator – BMR Calc
- Dual Accounts
- Video Editor – Mute Video
- Islamic World – Qibla
- Smart Video Compressor
Apple has already removed the infected apps, but right now, it’s not yet known how many devices got infected. For the time being, the recommended step is to remove the apps listed below, as clicker trojans could have an impact on device performance and battery life.