Security Architecture, Endpoint/Device Security, Endpoint/Device Security, Threat Management, Threat Management, Malware, Endpoint/Device Security, Endpoint/Device Security, Endpoint/Device Security

New adware found in fake Flashlight apps with dark intentions

A newly discovered mobile adware program called LightsOut was recently observed in 22 fake Android flashlight and utility applications, reportedly prompting their removal from the Google Play Store.

Prior to their banishment, the apps had already been collectively downloaded by users between 1.5 million and 7.5 million times, researchers with Check Point Software Technologies have reported in a Jan. 5 blog post.

According to Check Point, the malware bombards users with ads that are triggered by the simplest acts, including ending a call, plugging in a charger, establishing a Wi-Fi connection, or locking a screen. This has resulted in users being forced to interact with malicious ads in order to perform even basic functions like answering calls. One victim even reported that the malicious ads continued to appear even after he purchased an ad-free version of the app.

While the app supposedly gives users the option of disabling certain functions, including ad displays, in reality LightsOut “can override the user's decision and continue to display ads out of context,” the blog post states. “Since the ads are not directly connected to LightsOut's activity, the user is unlikely to understand what caused them, and even if he does he won't be able to find the app's icon and remove it from his device,” because the app intentionally hides its icon.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

Get daily email updates

SC Media's daily must-read of the most current and pressing daily news

By clicking the Subscribe button below, you agree to SC Media Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.