Fake Flash Player Hits Android

Friday, August 24, 2012 @ 03:08 PM gHale

Adobe just walked away from its Flash Player on Android’s Google Play marketplace. In the security environment, when one legit player leaves, that means scammers are now starting to promote fake versions of the software to unsuspecting smartphone owners.

In one case, a separate fake version of Flash Player is not only fake, but an SMS Trojan comes bundled with adware, said security firm GFI Labs.

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The app, named “adobeflashinstaller.apk,” comes with adware from the mobile ad network AirPush, researchers said.

Once installed, the app tricks users into following a series of steps to root their phone before downloading another .APK file. This file, hosted on a XDA-Developers forum post, is a hacked up version of Adobe’s Flash Player app. While the app isn’t necessarily malicious, the company has not authorized it, meaning it’s possible the app could grant or install permissions without the users’ knowledge further down the line.

Meanwhile, the app’s adware leads to the installation of advertisements on the phone. If the user tries to delete them, the adware will simply add more of them. The adware also will change the users’ home page; send pop-up ads to the phone’s status bar every fifteen minutes and even read and send the users’ phonebook contacts to advertisers.

Adobe ceased development on Flash Player for Android August 15 after saying it was shifting its focus to AIR, a runtime environment that allows apps that utilize Flash to run on devices natively.

Adobe added the current version of Flash Player as it stands may exhibit “unpredictable behavior” when the next version of Android, Jelly Bean, rolls out.

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