Covert Bitcoin miner found stashed in malicious Google Play apps


Researchers scouring the official Google Play market have unearthed more Android apps that surreptitiously abuse end-user devices to carry out the computationally intensive process of mining Bitcoins.

The malware, dubbed "BadLepricon" by its creators, was stowed away inside six five separate wallpaper apps that had from 100 to 500 downloads each, according to a blog post published Thursday by researchers from Lookout, an anti-malware provider for smartphones. Google employees promptly removed the offending apps once Lookout reported them. It's at least the second time in a month that third-party researchers have discovered cryptocurrency-mining apps available for download on Google servers. Four weeks ago, researchers from Trend Micro reported they found two apps downloaded one million to five million times that mined the Litecoin and Dogecoin cryptocurrencies without explicitly informing end users.

"These apps did fulfill their advertised purpose in that they provided live wallpaper apps, which vary in theme from anime girls to 'epic smoke' to attractive men," Meghan Kelly, a Lookout security communications manager, wrote in Thursday's blog post. "However, without alerting you in the terms of service, BadLepricon enters into an infinite loop where—every five seconds—it checks the battery level, connectivity, and whether the phone’s display was on."

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