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Media Alert: Q1 2019 Android Security Recap




January Destination, unknown!


The next evolution for the Android operating systems is upon us! Samsung, Huawei and Motorola, are just some of the top brands that recently showcased the next iteration of smartphones at the recent Mobile World Conference (MWC) 2019 in Barcelona.

While we eagerly await the arrival of these devices, ESET’s Malware Analyst, Lukas Stefanko, does a deep dive into some of the exploits they’ve discovered throughout Q1 2019. Here are some of his findings:

Over 15 fake GPS Navigation apps with over 50 million installs from Google Play that violates Google rules. Rather than provide navigational services, these apps attract potential users with fake screenshots and look to generate ad revenue through various interactions. Once users interact with these apps, the Google Maps app is opened up and used, essentially making it redundant.

Adware, Everywhere!

85 game, TV and remote-control simulator apps on the Google Play store which contained an active adware family. The adware was capable of full-screen ads, hiding itself, monitoring a device’s screen unlocking functionality, and running in the mobile background.  These apps have been downloaded a total of nine million times around the world.

Explicit Beauty

Several beauty camera apps on Google Play that are capable of accessing remote ad configuration services that can be used for malicious purposes. Some of these apps have already been downloaded millions of times, with a large number of the download count originating from Asia – particularly in India. The app will push several full-screen ads when users unlock their devices, including malicious ads (such as fraudulent content and pornography) that will pop up via the user’s browser.


Unknowingly hacked

Android devices were vulnerable to hacks by a remote hacker if they had mistakenly opened up a PNG (Portable Network Graphics) image file. A major flaw in Android’s framework allowed an attacker to execute computer code remotely by using a maliciously crafted PNG image file to smuggle the code. Google has since released a security patch to beef up its Android defences.

Insecure Converter

A file converting app called ‘pdf to word’ was recently discovered on Google Play. The app placed all user-uploaded PDFs on an FTP server, amassing a collection of 360,000 files, and made them accessible and downloadable by anyone, without any authentication. This had led to the leak of many private and confidential documents, readily available on the internet.

Mischief Managed

All users of the Password Cloud app (both free and paid versions) are vulnerable to having their secret information leaked. The app utilises AES 265-bit encryption, which is considered standard technology for such applications. However, it is possible for an attacker to retrieve any information stored in this app, including the password securing the app itself.


Malware analysts revealed 39 new modifications of the Android.HiddenAds Trojan family on Google Play. They were hidden in seemingly safe programs: photography, applications, image and video editors, collections of desktop wallpapers, system utilities, games, and other software. Overall, they were installed by over nine million users. Some of these Trojans have likely been spread via Instagram and YouTube.

Independent testing outfit AV-Comparatives tested more than 2,000 of the most common Android Malware samples against 250 “security” apps available on the Android store. Surprisingly only 23 apps passed the test with a 100-per cent success rate at detecting the Malicious code. The rest of the apps that didn’t pass would work instead of keeping you safe, would pester you with unwanted ads, all in the name of easy revenue for the developers.

A number of products that scored poorly in the test were deemed to be the work of what AV-Comparatives called “hobby developers”. Rather than focus on producing quality security software, these software makers apparently produce a variety of apps that are only designed to generate ad revenue for them.

With ‘Love’, From Italy

Security Without Borders recently identified a new Android spyware platform named Exodus. Exodus is equipped with extensive collection and interception capabilities that could lead to the spyware exposing the infected devices to further compromise or data tampering.

While details would vary, all of the identified copies of this spyware shared a similar disguise. In most cases, they would be crafted to appear as applications distributed by unspecified mobile operators in Italy.

Most of these apps have collected a few dozen installations each, with one case reaching over 350. All of the victims are located in Italy. Thankfully however, all these Google Play Store pages have been taken down by Google.

Removing is not uninstalling

Lukas Stefanko recently discovered three apps on Google Play with over 700,000 installs, that are actually AdWare, that use interesting persistence technique. Post installation, when the user realises the app is not as described, they can only remove the app icon, but not uninstall the app. This means that while it is not displayed on the user’s device, it is still running in the background until it is manually uninstalled from the Google Play Store.

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Dinesh Nair Appointed as Director for Consumer Business Lenovo India

NDM Network



Global technology leader Lenovo has appointed Dinesh Nair as Director, Consumer Business for India region. Dinesh succeeds Mr. Shailendra Katyal, who has recently been appointed Site Leader for Lenovo India and Managing Director of Lenovo’s PC and smart device business in India. 

Dinesh Nair has been an integral part of the Lenovo India consumer business for more than 11 years and has worked successfully across several roles. His most recent role was as the sales & channel management lead for Lenovo’s consumer segment in India. He has handled leadership responsibilities across offline general trade retail, distribution management, field sales, eCommerce, large format retail and category management, and has been a key contributor to the company’s growth journey in India. 

“During this difficult time in India, we are working hard to ensure the safety of our employees, partners and customers and I am grateful that we have excellent leaders in place to bring our team together and offer this support. I am proud to hand over the reins of the consumer business to Dinesh. At the same time, this is a demonstration of our commitment to developing talent internally. I am sure he, along with the consumer leadership team, will propel the business to new heights,” said Shailendra Katyal, Managing Director, Lenovo India.

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ASUS ROG Announces ROG Masters Asia Pacific eSports Tournament





ASUS ROG will host its first ROG Masters Asia Pacific eSports tournament from March to April 2021. Due to COVID-19 pandemic affecting travel around the region, the tournament will be conducted entirely online, with quarterfinal to final matches livestreamed.

The ROG Masters tournament will feature Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) as the official game title will provide opportunity to teams with enthusiastic players to pitch their skills against each other, as well as the best professional teams from their market and in the region.

Tournament Structure

The tournament will see various teams from 15 markets across the region vying for the chance to be crowned as the first ROG Masters Asia Pacific Edition CS:GO Champion. 

The tournament will be played in three stages played over the course of 2 months:

  • Country qualifiers
  • Country finals
  • Asia Pacific finals

Country qualifiers matches for India will start in the second week of April 2021; 8th April and the finals to be held on the 10th April. The India finals to find the top three teams to represent the country will be livestreamed live on 10th April.

Professional teams from across the region will be automatically placed into seeded positions in the country finals. This gives a greater chance for non-professional, enthusiast teams from India to get through the qualifiers and meet the pro teams in the country finals. 

Country Champions will then go on to experience battling winning teams from other APAC markets in the finals that will be livestreamed during 22nd to 25th April 2021.


3 qualifying teams from India finals will stand to win US$800 for first place, US$400 for second place, US$200 for third place. They will then go on to the Asia Pacific finals with the chance to win the following prizes for the championship:

ROG Masters APAC ChampionshipAPAC Finals (USD/ team)

Registration and Official Tournament Website

Registration for the first ROG Masters Asia Pacific tournament opens on February 8, 2021 at the tournament’s official website.

Registration closes on February 28, 2021 Further details, match schedules, pro team information as well as rules and regulations can also be found on the tournament website.

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Garena Launches Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars





Garena has announced the Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars, Free Fire’s first-ever esports tournament for the South Asia region. Taking place on 6 February, the tournament will feature some of the gaming community’s favourite Free Fire streamers and personalities from India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

The Free Fire community has continued to expand in South Asia and across the world, with the mobile battle royale game the most downloaded mobile game globally in 2020, according to App Annie. Through the Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars, Garena will look to continue its efforts to excite and delight its fast-growing South Asian community with exciting Free Fire content, and to support and develop the incredible online community in the region.

Tournament Format

The Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars will feature a total of 12 teams. Each team will be led by one of the top 3 streamers from each of the 4 participating nations – chosen by public voting – in this epic clash to determine the best in the region. 

The 12 teams will compete in the Battle Royale Squad mode for a slice of the 1 million diamond prize pool. The ultimate winner of this star-studded tournament will receive 500,000 in-game diamonds; the first and and second runners-up will be awarded 300,000 and 200,000 diamonds respectively. 

Invited Teams

The Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars will feature some of the most popular streamers and personalities from across South Asia. 

The team captains for each nation are: 


  • Total Gaming (19.4 Million YT Subs)
  • Desi Gamers (7.8 Million YT Subs)
  • Two-Side Gamers (6.85 Million YT Subs)


  • Gaming with Nayeem (1.6 Million YT Subs)
  • Illusionist YT (479K YT Subs)
  • Gaming With Zihad (698K YT Subs)


  • Sooneeta (3.26 Million YT Subs)
  • Bshow Mgr (399K YT Subs)
  • Tonde Gamer (2.37 Million YT Subs)


  • RKG ARMY (1.77 Million YT Subs)
  • Unusual Gamer (81K YT Subs)
  • The Skinzo FF (75.5K YT Subs)

Broadcast Details:

Fans can witness all the high-octane action by tuning in to the live broadcasts of the Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars. These will be hosted on Free Fire Esports India YouTube and Facebook, Free Fire Bangladesh Official YouTube and Facebook, as well as on BOOYAH!. 

To cater to the diverse South Asian community, the matches will be streamed with live commentary in 5 languages – Bengali, English, Hindi, Nepali and Urdu.

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