Way back in 1849, a Dahlonega mint assayer named MF Stephenson tried to convince Georgia natives not to fall for the crazy dream of the California Golf Rush by pointing to the hills around their town and proclaiming, “There’s gold in them thar hills!” The phrase, later memorialized in a Mark Twain work, has come to mean that something has a hidden value.
For hackers and identity thieves, data mining is the gold in their “hills.” Stealing everything from your credit card information to your Social Security number has become big business in the world of criminal easy money, but an alarming new finding shows that hackers are now shifting their tactics in order to go for a new source of big income: advertising.
Security experts have uncovered three forms of interconnected adware that trojanize themselves and infect Android apps; at last count, experts had uncovered as many Once infected, the apps then push advertisements to the hapless users, ads for which the hackers get paid handsomely. The teams behind the discovery of the threats known as Shuanet, Kemoge and Shudun have found that there is no way to remove the adware, and that nothing short of buying a new device will stop it the barrage of advertisements.
Due to the widespread nature of the attack–with the US, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Jamaica, Brazil, Iran, Sudan, India and Indonesia having the highest incidences of infection–consumers are once again cautioned not to use any third-party app vendors, instead relying on the Google Play store or other authorized Android markets for all their content downloads. However, there have already been reports that clicking links to open videos or songs can install these adware threats.