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How to Stay Safe From Fake Finance Apps on Google Play

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Written by Lukas Stefanko, Malware Researcher at ESET

Another set of fake finance apps has found its way into the official Google Play store. This time, the apps have impersonated six banks from New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Poland, and the Austrian cryptocurrency exchange Bitpanda. Using bogus forms, the malicious fakes phish for credit card details and/or login credentials to the impersonated legitimate services.

Figure 1 – Six of the malicious apps found on Google Play

The malicious fakes were uploaded to Google Play in June 2018 and were installed more than a thousand times before being taken down by Google. The apps were uploaded under different developer names, each using a different guise, however, code similarities suggest the apps are the work of a single attacker. The apps use obfuscation, which might have contributed to their slipping into the store undetected.

The sole purpose of these malicious apps is to obtain sensitive information from unsuspecting users. Some of the apps take advantage of the absence of an official mobile app for the targeted service (such as Bitpanda), while others attempt to fool users by impersonating existing official apps. The full list of targeted banks and services can be found at the end of this article.

How do the apps operate?
While the apps don’t follow one common procedure, upon launch they all display forms requesting credit card details and/or login credentials to the targeted bank or service (examples can be seen in Figure 2). If users fill out such a form, the submitted data is sent to the attacker’s server. The apps then present their victims with a “Congratulations” or “Thank you” message (an example can be seen in Figure 3), which is where their functionality ends.

Figure 2 – Bogus forms phishing for credit card details and internet banking login credentials

 

Figure 3 – Final screen displayed by one of the malicious apps

How to stay safe
If you suspect that you have installed and used one of these malicious apps, we advise you to uninstall them immediately.

Also, change your credit card pin codes as well as internet banking passwords and check your bank accounts for suspicious activity. If there have been unusual transactions, contact your bank. Users of the Bitpanda cryptocurrency exchange who think they have installed the fake mobile app are advised to check their accounts for suspicious activity and change their passwords.

To avoid falling victim to phishing and other fake financial apps, we recommend that you:

  • Only trust mobile banking and other finance apps if they are linked from the official website of your bank or the financial service
  • Only download apps from Google Play; this does not ensure the app is not malicious, but apps like these are much more common on third-party app stores and are rarely removed once uncovered, unlike on Google Play
  • Pay attention to the number of downloads, app ratings and reviews when downloading apps from Google Play
  • Only enter your sensitive information into online forms if you are sure of their security and legitimacy
  • Keep your Android device updated and use a reliable mobile security solution; ESET products detect and block these malicious apps as Android/Spy.Banker.AIF, Android/Spy.Banker.AIE and Android/Spy.Banker.AIP

Targeted banks and services

Australia and New Zealand

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank)
The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ)
ASB Bank

The United Kingdom
TSB Bank

Switzerland
PostFinance

Poland
Bank Zachodni WBK (renamed to Santander Bank Polska SA in September 2018)

Austria
Bitpanda

IoCs

Package name Hash Detection
cw.cwnbm.mobile 651A3734103472297A2C65C81757FB5820AD2AB7 Android/Spy.Banker.AIF
au.money.go DE09F03C401141BEB05F229515ABB64811DDB853 Android/Spy.Banker.AIF
asb.ezy.pay B6D70983C28B8A0059B454065D599B4E18E8097C Android/Spy.Banker.AIF
uk.mobile.tsb 91692607FB529218ADF00F256D5D1862DF90DAAF Android/Spy.Banker.AIF
ch.post.finance FE1B2799B65D36F19484930FAF0DA17A0DBE9868 Android/Spy.Banker.AIF
pl.mblzch C43E7A28E1B807225F1E188C6DA51D24DCC54F5F Android/Spy.Banker.AIE
www.bit.panda 7D80158C8C893E46DC15E6D92ED2FECFDB12BF9F Android/Spy.Banker.AIP

 

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Hold Onto Your Seats, Android Users: A Fart Button is Coming!

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Get ready, Android users, for a quirky addition to your phone calls: a fart button.

As revealed by 9to5Google, users on the beta update channel of the Google Phone app are discovering a fresh menu during their calls, titled “Audio Emoji.” This unexpected feature equips callers with a soundboard boasting six different sound effects, audible to both parties on the call. Among these effects are clapping, laughter, celebratory cheers, a sorrowful trombone tune, a “ba dum tss,” and, peculiarly, flatulence. Despite the term “emoji,” the only emoji-like aspect is the use of emojis as buttons to trigger the sounds.

Accompanying these audio emojis are brief animations that complement the sound effects. Notably, there’s a rather distasteful depiction of a “chocolate ice cream cone” squelching to the ground amidst buzzing flies. It’s not hard to guess which emoji corresponds to this effect. It appears that these animations may be exclusive to the sender, although their visibility for the receiver is uncertain, especially if they also have audio emojis activated.

The full extent of this feature’s functionality remains to be seen, as it’s gradually rolling out. I didn’t encounter it on my Pixel 8 Pro, and Google hasn’t officially announced it yet.

If you find yourself confronted with the Audio Emoji menu and prefer not to encounter a miniature cartoon poop in your calls, you can deactivate the menu by tapping an “X” located in its top right corner. However, it’s unclear whether this action prevents friends from sending sound effects your way.

Fortunately, there’s a cooldown period between emojis, which means you won’t be bombarded with a flurry of fart sounds followed by a sad trombone and a punchline sound effect. With Google I/O, the tech giant’s premier hardware and software event for 2024, just around the corner, let’s hope Google has more substantial innovations to unveil on May 14th.

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Huawei Launches Painting App Called GoPaint

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Huawei has announced the upcoming launch of GoPaint, a brand-new self-developed painting app designed specifically for tablets. This exciting development marks Huawei’s entry into the digital art app market, further solidifying their commitment to empowering creative expression.

The GoPaint app promises a wealth of features for both seasoned artists and aspiring creators. It boasts a comprehensive brush library developed in collaboration with a top art team, ensuring a diverse range of tools for various artistic styles. User-friendly features and intuitive design make GoPaint accessible even for beginners, with a full set of tutorials included to guide users on their creative journey.

This launch comes after the resounding success of Huawei’s GoPaint Worldwide Creating Activity in 2023, highlighting the growing demand for digital art tools. By leveraging valuable user insights from the industry’s first smart device vendor to launch a self-developed painting app, Huawei aims to elevate the user experience and make artistic creation accessible to all. Their core concept of “Creation of Beauty” underscores this commitment.

Huawei’s decade-long expertise in the tablet market positions them perfectly to launch this innovative app. Their industry-leading tablets, like the HUAWEI MatePad Pro 13.2″, boast features like the first large flexible OLED display and seamless integration with the pressure-sensitive HUAWEI M-Pencil (3rd generation). Combining this cutting-edge hardware with the powerful GoPaint app creates a perfect ecosystem for artistic creation.

Huawei is poised to become a trailblazer in the digital art world by bridging the gap between its innovative hardware and software. The GoPaint app, expected to be unveiled at the HUAWEI Innovative Product Launch on May 7th, signifies a new era for creative expression on Huawei tablets. With its comprehensive features, user-friendly design, and beginner-friendly tutorials, GoPaint empowers both established artists and aspiring talents to unlock their creative potential.

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Shure Launches the new MV7+ Microphone

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Shure has launched its new hybrid XLR/USB dynamic microphone with the launch of the MV7+ Podcast Microphone. The MV7+ is aimed at those seeking to capture broadcast-quality audio in even the most challenging of spaces. With Shure’s cutting-edge Voice Isolation Technology, the focus lies on the user’s voice, avoiding annoying background noises and ensuring outstanding audio for every recording and streaming session.

It also includes a new, innovative onboard Digital Signal Processing (DSP) engine which powers a suite of advanced features, like an improved Auto Level Mode, a Digital Popper Stopper for enhanced plosive control, Real-time Denoiser, and Adjustable Reverb. Thanks to its unique full-touch LED live meter display and numerous customization options, the MV7+ sets a new standard in sound quality and personalization while diving into a vibrant world of colour.

To elevate the user experience to the next level, the MV7+ podcast microphone integrates with the free, new MOTIV Mix Desktop app, Shure’s latest MOTIV software interface. MOTIV Mix provides users with the ability to configure all aspects of the MV7+. The software also offers multi-track recording and routing to support users with greater control of their live streaming and recordings. With MV7+ and MOTIV Mix, it’s easier than ever to sound authentic, freeing up creators to let their imagination shine brightly.

“Modern content creators and streamers are constantly searching for new ways to customize their set-up and sound to set themselves above the pack,” said Sean Sullivan, Associate Director of Global Product Management at Shure. “The MV7+ is our answer to this challenge. It builds off the legacy of the MV7 and delivers broadcast-quality audio in any setting while empowering creators with intuitive customization and control. Through our latest DSP innovations and the new MOTIV Mix desktop app integration, the MV7+ is set to redefine excellence in audio recording for every session.”

New Features and Benefits:

  1. Multi-Color LED Touch Panel: Elevate the audio experience with a customizable LED touch panel. Choose from over 16.8 million colours to visualize your sound levels or engage an ambient pulse effect. A simple tap anywhere on the LED Panel Live Meter instantly mutes the microphone, ensuring privacy and control.
  2. Real-time Denoiser: Leverage the advanced DSP technology of the MV7+ to eliminate background noise. It works in harmony with the microphone’s Voice Isolation to deliver pristine sound, even in less-than-ideal recording environments.
  3. Digital Popper Stopper: Remove harsh plosive sounds to avoid acoustic distractions and a cumbersome physical pop filter on camera.
  4. Improved Auto Level Mode: Intelligent audio adjustment adapts the microphone gain based on the distance, volume, and room dynamics, providing perfectly balanced sound automatically.
  5. Onboard Reverb: Choose from three types of onboard reverb settings–Plate, Hall, Studio—and set intensity levels to add desired depth and richness to recordings.
  6. Hybrid XLR and USB-C outputs: The MV7+ integrates into any setup as it provides hybrid USB-C and XLR output and connects seamlessly with your laptop or phone (iOS and Android), offering unparalleled flexibility and ease of use.

Shure has also announced the new MOTIV Mix software for the MV7+ microphone. This platform allows users to customize the LED panel, access up to five multi-track recording and routing channels, and fine-tune settings like sound signature, gain, and more. A Beta version of the new software will be available to experience with the MV7+ at launch, helping users reduce the number of apps needed to streamline their workflows. Key features of MOTIV Mix include:

  • Multi-channel Mixer: Control multiple channels of audio to record, monitor or use your mixed audio for your live stream.
  • Soundcheck: Check your mic’s gain setting and optimize it with the help of Soundcheck.
  • A redefined Monitor Mix Slider: Mix mic output and system audio playback levels individually.
  • Full access: to advanced DSP features of your MV7+ Podcast Microphone.

MOTIV Mix will soon be compatible with other legacy MOTIV products such as the MV7 and the MVX2U, serving as a building block for forthcoming software innovations and premium features. The MV7+ Podcast Microphone comes in two colours (black and white). The black MV7+ is available now at Shure’s official partners and Amazon. This summer, the white version will be available along with a special bundle, the MV7+ Podcast kit, that includes the microphone in black and a Gator mic stand. Each purchase comes with a 3m USB-C to USB-C cable, a printed quick start guide, and a MOTIV MIX Art Card with download instructions. Other accessories such as a 15-inch USB-C to lightning cable and a replacement foam windscreen are available for purchase individually.

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