David Agranovich, director of threat disruption at Meta, the firm that owns Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram, has had to give this week bad news. Nearly a million of your Facebook users could have had their credentials stolen. The cause: hundreds of applications available for Android and iOS that included malicious code.
The technological multinational will contact the million users who could have been affected by this malware. To be considered potentially affected, it is enough for a person to have downloaded one of the applications that included that code on their device. Meta has found more than 400 applications with that malware.
They deal specifically with 355 apps on Android and 47 apps available on iOS, the iPhone ecosystem. They are simple applications that pass themselves off as innocent tools: from mobile flashlight applications to photo editors or games. “There are legitimate apps like this, but criminals know they are very popular and take advantage of them,” Agranovich recalls.
What is also worrying is that this massive theft of credentials is not limited to any specific region or any specific group of users. In other words, those 400 apps on Android and iOS were available all over the globe, so the million users who would have downloaded them and could be affected would be located all over the world.
Of course, Agranovich himself confirms that this campaign only happened against Facebook users: Instagram or WhatsApp accounts are safe.
In an appearance before the media, Agranovich acknowledged that it was impossible to make a detailed count of how many people could have seen their Facebook user accounts compromised by these apps, but the figure of one million comes from that being the number of users who downloaded malicious apps. Various media have already echoed the news, such as Axios.
The operation of these malicious apps is simple: when they are downloaded, they ask users to log in to them and for this purpose they offer the option of doing so with the button to log in with Facebook. When users click on that option, a form opens in which users enter their account. There is activated malwarewhich begins to collect that information.
It is not the first time that an incident of this style has been registered in the Google and Apple application stores. Both companies have already advanced that they have removed those applications that have been detected by Meta. Although both services have surveillance and prevention systems for malwaresimply those systems are not always able to cover everything.
That’s why Meta threat manager Agranovich has released a message: “If a flashlight app asks you to log in with Facebook before giving you any flashlight functionality, there’s probably something you should be suspicious of.”
Finding apps with malware It is something too common. In July of this year, Google identified another 36 utilities that contained malicious code and were removed from its platform: they could have affected millions of users. In June and April, many others were also discovered.
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