These Android apps found to carry malicious spyware

Kerem Gülen
May 31, 2023
Google Android

A significant number of Android apps, including several that were previously available on the Google Play Store, have been discovered to contain a potentially dangerous software development kit.

The recently identified SDK, known as "SpinOK," was brought to light by Dr. Web. This particular software development kit is an advertising module that utilizes various tactics, such as offering mini-games and daily rewards, to engage users and maintain their interest in the displayed advertisements.

Upon investigation, Dr. Web uncovered an SDK and bestowed upon it the name "SpinOK." Disguised as a seemingly innocuous ad module employing enticing features like mini-games and daily prizes, SpinOK aimed to sustain user engagement with the displayed advertisements.

However, unbeknownst to users, this seemingly harmless module was surreptitiously extracting sensitive information from the device it was installed on. As a result, users unwittingly faced heightened risks of identity theft, wire fraud, and various other forms of cybercrime.

"On the surface, the SpinOk module is designed to maintain users' interest in apps with the help of mini games, a system of tasks, and alleged prizes and reward drawings," the researchers stated.

Beyond its deceptive functionality, the discovered SDK was involved in extensive data theft through the compromised apps. To ensure it was not operating within a sandbox environment, the malicious software checked the sensors of the targeted device.

Image source: Unsplash

Once confirmed, it established a network connection to fetch a roster of URLs essential for rendering the embedded mini-games. Disturbingly, this allowed the SDK to pilfer a wide range of content, including videos, photos, and other private information. By systematically scanning directories, searching for specific documents, and subsequently transferring them to a remote server, the malware enabled unauthorized access to users' sensitive files.

Additionally, the malware exhibited a common tactic employed by malicious actors: monitoring the clipboard to collect sensitive information. This technique heightened the risk of further data exposure, as the SDK clandestinely tracked and intercepted data stored in the clipboard, potentially compromising critical details and exacerbating the threat to user privacy.

Over 420 million downloads

The extent of the SDK's reach is staggering, with over 420 million instances of apps containing this SDK being downloaded solely from Google Play. Among the compromised apps, researchers identified two highly popular ones, Noizz: video editor with music and Zapya - File Transfer, Share, both boasting over 100 million users.

The trojan module was found in versions 6.3.3 through 6.4 of Zapya, while version 6.4.1 was verified as clean. Notably, other heavily downloaded apps, including MVBit (an MV video status producer) and Biugo (a video maker and editor), accumulated over 50 million downloads each.

Here are some of the most downloaded apps identified by Dr. Web:

  1. Noizz: video editor with music - 100,000,000 downloads
  2. Zapya – File Transfer, Share - 100,000,000 downloads (Trojan module present in versions 6.3.3 to 6.4, but absent in the current version 6.4.1)
  3. VFly: video editor&video maker - 50,000,000 downloads
  4. MVBit – MV video status maker - 50,000,000 downloads
  5. Biugo – video maker&video editor - 50,000,000 downloads
  6. Crazy Drop - 10,000,000 downloads
  7. Cashzine – Earn money reward - 10,000,000 downloads
  8. Fizzo Novel – Reading Offline - 10,000,000 downloads
  9. CashEM: Get Rewards - 5,000,000 downloads
  10. Tick: watch to earn - 5,000,000 downloads

The article reports that nearly all of the implicated apps have been removed from Google Play Store, and interested readers can consult the comprehensive list of affected apps for further information.


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  1. Albert said on August 18, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the tip Martin.

    It is for these kinds of posts that I follow GHacks.

    1. Mike Williams said on August 26, 2023 at 8:55 pm

      What’s up with the generic comment, are you a bot?

  2. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:23 pm


    Where on the planet is that still in use? I was forced to give up using my RAZRV3 years ago because 2G was phased out by AT&T.

    1. arbuz said on August 20, 2023 at 5:02 pm

      Everywhere 3G has been turned off and you don’t have LTE coverage, and believe me there are many developed countries where this is the case and if it weren’t for 2G you wouldn’t even be able to make a phone call.

    2. Doc Fuddled said on August 31, 2023 at 5:55 pm

      Maybe I missed it, but I don’t believe tha term “2G” is in the article. Perhaps you are referring to “AGM G2”??

  3. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:27 pm


    Your website has gone insane.

    When I the post button I then saw my comment posted on a different article page. When I opened this article again, it is here.

    1. Martin P. said on August 31, 2023 at 4:39 pm

      @Tachy @Martin Brinkmann

      ” Your website has gone insane. ”

      Same here. Has happened several times.

      1. owl said on September 1, 2023 at 3:42 am

        @Martin P.,

        For over two weeks now,
        I’ve been seeing “Comments” posted by subscribers appearing in different, unrelated articles.
        For the time being,
        it would be better to specify the “article name and URL” at the beginning of the post.

  4. Anonymous said on August 18, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    @tachy a lot of non-phone devices with a sim in them rely on 2G, at least here in europe.
    Usually things reporting usage or errors/alarms on something remote that does not get day to day inspection in person. They are out there in vast numbers doing important work. Reliable, good range. The low datarate is no problem at all in those cases.
    3G is gone or on its last legs everywhere, but this stuff still has too much use to cancel.

    Anyhow, interesting that they would put that in. I can see the point if you suspect a hostile 2G environment (amateur eavesdroppers with laptop, ranging up to professional grade MITM fake towers while “strangely” not getting the stronger crypto voip 4G because it is being jammed, and back down to something as old ‘stingray’ devices fallen into the wrong hands).

    But does this also mean that they have handled and rolled out a fix for that nasty 4G ‘pwn by broadcast’ problem you reported earlier this year? I had 4G disabled due to that, on the off chance that some of the local criminals would buy some cheap chinese gear, download a working exploit and probe every phone in range all over town in the hope of getting into phones of the police.

  5. Andy Prough said on August 19, 2023 at 3:04 am

    >”While most may never be attacked in stingrays, it is still recommended to disable 2G cellular connections, especially since it does not have any downsides.”

    The downside would be losing connectivity. I spend a lot of time way out in the countryside where there’s often no service or almost none. My network allows 2G, and I need it sometimes. I have an option on the phone to disable 2G, I may do that when I’m in the city and I have good 5G connectivity, but not out in the country.

    I would imagine that the stingray exploits, like most of the bad things in this world, are probably things you will run into in the crowded big cities.

  6. owl said on August 21, 2023 at 3:40 am

    I stopped using it in a mobile (Wi-Fi line) environment, so I’m almost ignorant of the actual situation,
    But the recent reality in Japan makes me realize that “the infrastructure of the web is nothing more than a papier-mâché fiction”.

    It is already beyond the scope of what an individual can do.
    What we should be aware of is the reality that “governments and those in power want to control the world through the Web”, and efforts to counter (resist and prevent) such ambitions are necessary.

  7. Anonymous said on August 26, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    Why do you want people to disable the privacy features? Hmmmmm?

  8. Anonymous said on August 27, 2023 at 2:30 am

    Now You: do you plan to keep the Ads privacy features enabled?

    I’d like to tell you, but apparently if you make a post critical of Google, you get censored. * [Editor: removed, just try to bring your opinion across without attacking anyone]

  9. Tachy said on August 27, 2023 at 5:15 am


    You website is still psychotic. Comments attach to random stories.

  10. John G. said on August 28, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    @Martin please do fix the comments, it’s completely insane commenting here! :[

  11. ECJ said on August 28, 2023 at 5:37 pm


    The comments are seriously messed up on gHacks now. These comments are mixed with the article at the below URL.

    And comments on other articles are from as far back as 2010.

  12. Naimless said on August 29, 2023 at 12:57 am

    What does this article has anything to do with all the comments on this article? LOL I think this Websuite is ran by ChatGPT. every article is messed up. Some older comments from 2015 shown up in recant articles, LOL

  13. Paul Knight said on August 31, 2023 at 3:35 am

    The picture captioned “Clearing the Android Auto’s cache might resolve the issue” is from Apple Carplay ;)

  14. Anonymous said on August 31, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    How about other things that matter:
    Drop survival?
    Screen toughness?
    Degree of water and dust protection?

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