Fake Minecraft Pocket Edition mods install malware on Android phones

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Published by FileTrekker 1 year ago , last updated 8 months ago

Ah, Android, it seems to be a security nightmare akin only to the original release of Windows XP, being both the most popular OS out there, and in many cases, slow to update, as these new Minecraft: Pocket Edition scam mods are serving to highlight.

Over 80 fake Minecraft: Pocket Edition mods have been found on the Google Play store, which have had, to date, around 1 million installs combined. They're designed to take control of the users phone, bombarding them with aggressive advertisements, phishing scams, and possibly even more malicious activity behind the scenes.

Unlike the PC or console versions, the Pocket Edition hasn't got an official method of adding mods to the game - instead, third party launchers, which only work on Android, such as Block Launcher or Pocket Tool, load the mods in for the player. The problem is that the system is wide open to abuse, according to ESET Security.

The anti-virus and security research firm discovered the malicious apps are notable by asking for administrative permission. This is quite common for Android apps, so most users would not normally question this. Once the fake app has full administrative rights, it can install adware, back doors, or turn your phone into a bot net, or simply redirect you to a phishing website.

Victims of these apps find that their devices would be over encumbered with full-page advertisements, regardless of the app or screen they were on, for other Google Store games. This is a common way to abuse the advertising revenue system. Other versions redirected players to porn, gambling websites, or various fake virus warnings.

While the apps are being reported, they take time to remove, and a large number of victims are falling pray to the scam. Those who have installed one of these malicious 'mods' are encouraged to deactivate their administrative rights and uninstall them.

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