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Android malware potentially stole up to 450,000 pieces of personal data: Symantec

A fake app store that steals personal information on Android devices may have potentially stolen between 75,000 and 450,000 pieces of personal data such as contact details, according to security firm Symantec.

Not long after Symantec discovered Android.Exprespam, the security firm acquired data that indicated more than 3000 visits were made to the fake app store called Android Express's Play from 13-20 January.

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"The scam has only been around for about two weeks so I am sure that this is just the beginning for the scammers and the amount of personal data collected will increase exponentially," Joji Hamada, a Symantec employee, wrote in a blog post.

Symantec has found another version of the fake app store, with the domain registed by the Exprespam scammers. The store has not been given a name and appears to still be under construction. However, the security firm warns that a new malware variant is being hosted in the site.

"The scammers are constantly modifying their tactics so that the scam provides a good 'return' for them. These updates will not end until the scammers either are caught by the authorities and punished or cease scamming people, which is unlikely to happen anytime soon," Hamada wrote.

For all smartphone users, the research firm suggests to only download apps from well-known app vendors, avoid clicking on links in emails from unknown sources and install a security app.


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