A popular mobile ad library used by multiple Android apps poses a severe malware threat, researchers at infosec firm FireEye have warned. The security researchers said that altogether 200 million affected apps had been downloaded.
This ad library aggressively collects sensitive data and is able to perform dangerous operations such as calling home to a command-and-control server before downloading and running secondary components on demand.
Mobile ad libraries are third-party software included by host apps in order to display ads. Because this library could potentially be used to conduct large-scale attacks on millions of users, FireEye refers to it anonymously by the code name “Vulna” rather than revealing its true identity.
An analysis of the most popular apps (those with over one million downloads) on Google Play reveals that 1.8 per cent of them used “Vulna”. The potentially affected apps have been downloaded more than 200 million times in total.
FireEye catalogues a variety of built-in aggressive behaviours which, in addition to vulnerabilities with the technology, make Vulna a threat.