NCC warns against apps stealing personal data

THE Nigerian Communications Commission’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT) has warned Nigerians against clicking and installing a ‘Mobile Apps Group’ that steals personal data.

The NCC said it discovered apps containing trojans and adware that were harmful to users and their privacy.

The apps have been introduced into Google Play Store, according to the NCC.

The Commission issued the warning in a statement released on Tuesday, November 7.

It listed apps in the ‘Mobile Apps Group’ as Bluetooth Auto Connect, Bluetooth App Sender, Driver: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB and Mobile Transfer: Smart Switch.

The statement said: “The Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT) has continued to observe and monitor the constant introduction of malicious mobile applications into Google Play Store.

“Mobile Apps Group has a history of distributing malware-infected apps through the Google Play Store, and the current batch of apps has already been downloaded over a million times.”

The apps have a high potential to do damage, the Commission noted.

“The apps will delay the display of ads for up to three days after installation to avoid detection. However, once this period has passed, the user is bombarded with advertisements and is directed to malicious phishing websites in the Chrome browser. While the device is idle, the malicious app can open Chrome tabs in the background. Some of the sites it opens may appear to be harmless, but they are pay-per-click pages that generate revenue for the developers when clicked on.”

Consequences of installing the malicious apps include the user being bombarded with advertisements, which will degrade the user experience and theft of sensitive user data.

Also, clicking on the ads result in the stealth download or installation of additional malware, as well as the user’s privacy and data being jeopardized, according to NCC-CSIRT.

Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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