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Huawei's AppGallery riddled with malware-infected games

Cynos.7 trojan found its way into 9.3 million downloads

Updated Cybersecurity researchers at anti-virus software company Dr Web have discovered a treasure trove of malware-laced Android games on Huawei's AppGallery.

The trojan, Android.Cynos.7.origin, is a Cynos variant that collects user information. To date it has been installed over 9.3 million times.

The infected apps ask for permission to make and manage phone calls. Once permission is given, the data collection and transfer of information to a remote server begins.

Stolen information included users' mobile phone numbers, device location, mobile network and Wi-Fi access data, mobile network parameters, technical specs of the device and parameters from the app's metadata.

The trojan also infests its host app with ads.

Games compromised by the unwanted code cover genres including simulators, platformers, arcades, strategies and shooters. Many of the apps were targeted at children – some parents* now have another reason to feel guilty about letting their kids play games to get them to shut up as part of loving efforts to demonstrate trust by allowing independent play.

The apps also targeted a range of nationalities by detecting language and localization settings. Russian and Chinese users were the top targets.

Dr Web has listed Indicators of Compromise and – of course – is also offering anti-virus software for those who've been perusing Hauwei's AppGallery.

Upon being contacted by the researchers, Huawei removed the 190 apps identified as infected. The Register has approached Huawei for comment and will update this story if we receive a substantial reply. ®

* Totally not any parents involved in the writing or preparation of this story.

Updated at 08.44 UTC on 26 November 2021 to add:

Huawei has sent us a statement:

“AppGallery’s built-in security system swiftly identified the potential risk within these apps. We are now actively working with affected developers to troubleshoot their apps. Once we can confirm that the apps are all clear, they will be re-listed on AppGallery.

"Protecting network security and user privacy is Huawei's priority. We welcome all third-party oversight and feedback to ensure we deliver on this commitment. We will continue to collaborate closely with our partners.”

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