Uh-oh, it looks like we have another proof of how harmful online ads can be. There is a new noxious malware that lies in wait for Android users, and spreads via AdSense. Yeah, that ad network by Google.
Specialists of Kaspersky Lab have encountered an alarming virus called Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Svpeng.q that is spread with the help of online ads.
This piece of malware gets to your Android device via the Google's online ad network. As you understand, there are reeeeally many websites which are using this targeted advertising. Users click on these ads and site owners get their revenue. But the sad truth is that anyone can push ads through AdSense system. Including some not very decent 'gentlemen', who in this case decided to distribute trojan via the famous ad network. Users just go through their web routine, visit favourite blogs and frequent news websites and then suddenly (without any additional clicks) they have a banking trojan last-browser-update.apk downloaded on the device. Just like that.
It just downloads, as soon as a user opens a page with such ad:
Here you can see how malware has downloaded itself on russian news site.
Once installed, the malware hides itself from the list of installed apps on the phone, so it's harder to find it and remove, even with an antivirus.
As Kaspersky researchers wrote in a blog post: "Svpeng can steal information about the user’s bank cards via phishing windows, intercept, delete, and send text messages (this is necessary for attacks on remote banking systems that use SMS as a transport layer). Also, the malware can counteract mobile security solutions that are popular in Russia by completing their processes..."
It is quite disturbing that Svpeng virus collects all sort of information from from the user’s phone – the call history, text and multimedia messages, browser bookmarks and contacts.
So be aware! We have been reiterating this for years, but you can see it for yourself (especially in regard of such cases) that sometimes installing an ad blocker is essential. It's not just avoiding something that annoys you, this is a matter of security.