back to article Huawei's AppGallery riddled with malware-infected games

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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The infected apps ask for permission to make and manage phone calls."

    Well if a fool of a User chooses to grant requests for those permissions, then him and his privacy will soon be parted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The infected apps ask for permission to make and manage phone calls."

      Permissions can be very broad. "make and manage phone calls" could be there just to check if you are making a call before pinging you to announce their latest update.

      The really annoying one is 'location' and refusing to permit access to 'Location' can cause the app to get very stroppy. The National Trust one went into a loop because I refused as I normally expect to choose the area to search rather than have it make suggestions based on where I happened to be at the time... it was only marginally better when I permitted Location but had GPS off (my default for the same reason, namely I normally know roughly where I am) as it hangs waiting for GPS then your response to 'GPS enable y/n?'

      1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

        Re: "The infected apps ask for permission to make and manage phone calls."

        This is bad UI design. It should ask you to if you want access to GPS on first startup, then if you say "no", it shouldn't bother you again, but give you the option to change your mind maybe in some sort of settings option.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Malware on Android?

    Well colour me surprised.

  3. Whitter

    "if we receive a substantial reply"

    Does that mean El Reg won't bother us if "Our customers are our top priority" ?


    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: "if we receive a substantial reply"

      That's very cynical, I'm sure they'll quickly inform El Reg that they take the security of their users very seriously. ;-)

      1. pavel.petrman

        Re: "if we receive a substantial reply"

        And the ${CURRENT_ISSUE} is of utmost importance to them and the ${MONETIZATION_VECTOR_POLITICALLY_ACCEPTABLE_NAME} of their users lies at the hart of the company's culture and aspirations.

  4. steelpillow Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Call me paranoid

    but even if Huawei's assurance is true that its hardware/system design is not open the the government's prying, an accidental-on-purpose habit of pisspoor software coding, exploited via a store of malware-infested client apps, might well be sufficient to keep the dragon placated. You only need one covert dragon egg in the store to gain popularity, and whoosh.

  5. hairydog

    Of course, the Huawei App Gallery is only needed because of the ludicrous Google Play ban.

    1. TheProf

      No the Huawei App Gallery exists to make money for Huawei.

      It sit, lonely and unused, alongside Google Play on my Honor phone.

  6. _LC_
    Paris Hilton

    Good thing I have the PlayStore

    Good thing I have the PlayStore. There's NEVER been malware in there. ;-)

  7. You aint sin me, roit

    They should do an Apple...

    Sue those naughty app developers!

  8. JDPower666

    The apps on the Huawei store generally look low quality tosh anyway, I'd never install anything off there (admittedly I have the choice as still using a Huawei with Play store on it). So the only surprise to me is that it's took this long for widespread malware to be found on there.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a spokesdroid for Huawei said

    "AppGallery’s built-in security system swiftly identified the potential risk within these apps..."

    ...once you told us about it

  10. Teejay

    A note on Android permissions

    A lot of Android apps require the use of Google location services simply when they need to use Bluetooth. This is due to Google's persistence on detecting surrounding Bluetooth devices as part of their supposed positioning enhancements. Wifi, maybe, but Bluetooth?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A note on Android permissions

      Came here for this comment.

      /rant on

      I have a Bluetooth enabled bicycle helmet with not too bad sounding speakers which would be perfect, except that i need to enable Bluetooth AND GPS otherwise, the helmet app refuses to connect to the helmet.

      Annoying, but it gets even worse, the app compares my ride to all other helmet owners (in the area? worldwide? - no idea) and proceeds to passive aggressively nag me that I only managed to defeat x% of other riders on this trip. I'm still wondering why I should care, I simply went grocery shopping on the bike for *$%& sake, no one old me I was in a competition.

      I only hope there's never a data leak of all routes, because then everyone and their dog would know exactly where I live/work/do whatever private stuff I certainly don't wish to share with the world while using this helmet.

      It's still cool to be able listen to music during my daily commute to work though.

      /rant off

      1. CAPS LOCK

        Try these:

        Koss 'The Plug' noise isolating earphones.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Try these:

          Looks cool, but unfortunately, in my jurisdiction (Central Europe), cycling with earphones is a grey area, so that's a non-starter.

          Although the law does not explicitly forbid earphones, it prohibits "distractions" while participating in traffic and some police persons believe earphones qualify as such. It's basically a toss of the dice if you get stopped but more likely than not, it would be an issue.

          With the helmet at least, surrounding traffic sounds are not blocked and so far, speaker helmet wearers and cyclists with bike mounted speakers have not had any problems with the police here.

  11. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    AppGallery’s built-in security system swiftly identified the potential risk within these apps

    Uh-huh. Suuuuuuuure.

    Because "Upon being contacted by the researchers, Huawei removed the 190 apps identified as infected".

    We welcome all third-party oversight and feedback to ensure we deliver on this commitment

    So the "built-in security system" did not "swiftly identify" the 190 additional apps as malicious?

  12. Stone Fox

    Made in China.

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