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Emerging Threats

What is an info-stealing ad library?


Written by a NortonLifeLock employee

 

Researchers have recently discovered more than 800 apps on the Google Play store that contain an information-stealing ad library dubbed Xavier. Google has been notified and has already removed a number of the apps containing the malicious ad library from the Google Play Store.

What is an information-stealing ad library?

When it comes to free apps, there still may be a price, although it doesn’t always cost the user. There are other ways applications can earn revenue, such as running advertisements within the app itself. Ad libraries are a legitimate part of an application, however, they are software and can become compromised by cybercriminals in a myriad of different ways.

What does Xavier do?

This particular variant of the malicious ad library is what is known as a Trojan horse. This type of malware can collect sensitive user information such as email addresses, Device ID, device model, operating system version, country, device manufacturer, SIM card operator, screen resolution, and installed apps, all without the users knowledge.

How to stay protected from this type of threat

Taking advantage of quality security software such as Norton Mobile Security, which protects users from this particular threat, is an important measure you can take.

With Norton Mobile Security, you can also use our app advisor for Android to scan for "bad apps" like ones that contain Xavier before downloading them to your phone. Norton App Advisor is a special feature included with Norton Mobile Security. It notifies you if there are specific privacy risks, intrusive behavior of apps, excessive battery drainage and data plan usage.

This article is authored by an employee of Norton by NortonLifeLock. NortonLifeLock Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, helps organizations, governments and people secure their most important data wherever it lives. Likewise, a global community of more than 50 million people and families rely on NortonLifeLock’s Norton suite of products for protection at home and across all of their devices. Copyright © 2017 NortonLifeLock Corporation. NortonLifeLock Corporation. All rights reserved. NortonLifeLock, the NortonLifeLock Logo, the Checkmark Logo, Norton, and Norton by NortonLifeLock are trademarks or registered trademarks of NortonLifeLock Corporation or its affiliates in the United States and other countries. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.


Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. NortonLifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.