SimBad, the malware downloaded 150 million times on the Google Play Store

A study conducted by cybersecurity researchers has spotted a new malware present in hundreds of applications downloaded for some millions of times on the Play Store. 

The Play Store has been the victim of security breaches many times. Application validation has consistently failed to detect the presence of hidden viruses in software that is sometimes very popular and massively downloaded.

A malware downloaded 150 million times

With SimBad , the app store is once again the victim of a massive attack. The malware has been spotted by Check Point’s security researchers, who catalog as many as 200 infected programs. 

Among them many games, the top 10 represent no less than 55 million downloads including Snow Heavy Excavator Simulator, Hoverboard Racing or Real Tractor Farming Simulator. In total, 150 million infected programs have been downloaded. 

Once the game is installed and opened the first time, the malware removes the icon of the application and continues its operation in the background, starting at each restart of the smartphone. SimBad continuously broadcasts advertisements on the device to generate revenue on the back of the user.

Google gives no explanation on the spread of this virus

It’s unclear how SimBad got into those dozens of applications, or how Google might not have detected them during the validation process before they were released to the Play Store. 

For the moment, SimBad remains above all an advertising software but Check Point does not exclude the possibility that it becomes a much more virulent threat in the future. 

Google has not officially responded to this discovery and removed the offending software. The company would have certainly preferred to do without a new history demonstrating its lack of vigilance when putting mobile applications online on its platform.