The fake Android Netflix app with malware is spreading by WhatsApp

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic and the possible introduction of a social exclusion protocol to combat the spread of the infection, more and more people are embracing digital life. Now online classes and work from home have become the new normal.

Also, most people get tired of long work and try to over-watch movies and TV series of OTT (Over-The-Top) apps like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and others to refresh their minds. Now there are reports that bad actors have devised a cunning method of forcing naive users to install fake OTT applications and steal their sensitive details.

Cyber ​​experts from Check Point Research discovered the malicious FlixOnline app on the Google Play store. The type and user interface of the malicious application is strikingly similar to Netflix. This is a trick to deceive gullible users in installing the application.

Unusually, FlixOnline was sold via WhatsApp messages. The hackers sent a link to the Google Play Store app to random users with lucrative offers, including a two-month free Netflix subscription.

“2 months of Netflix Premium for free, at no cost FOR QUARANTINE (CORONA VIRUS) * Get 2 months of Netflix Premium for free anywhere in the world for 60 days. Get it HERE now (URL removed for security reasons), ”the message reads

Once installed, it asks Android phone users to give it three key permissions – Overlay, Ignore Battery Optimization, and Notification.

The overlay permission will allow the app to create a fake login screen in any app, and when a user is asked to enter credentials, the malicious app steals the information. Second, allowing the battery optimization to be ignored will allow the application to run in the background even if the user has not opened it for a long time.

And the ‘Notification’ access permission will allow the fake Netflix app to display all text and content not only in the standard Android app for messaging, but also others, including

WhatsApp. He may even start a conversation with strangers or even friends without the mobile owner ever knowing about this.

This is a very serious threat to the personal data of the user on the phone and the application can threaten the device.


FlixOnline application with malware on the Google Play Store. Image Credit: Check Point Research Team

According to the report, about 500 people installed the malicious application. CheckPoint Research was able to detect it early and notify Google. The latter removed the FlixOnlie app from the Play Store.

Users are warned not to install applications created by unknown publishers. Let it be your practice to review reviews written by previous users of the app in the Play Store. There we will surely get signs that show whether the application is reliable or not.

Also, go to the publisher’s website link located in the Play Store to meet the co-founders who created the app.

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