Google removes 13 Android apps from Play Store infected with Brain Test malware

Google Play Store

Brain Test — The malicious software family — has managed to make a comeback affecting as many as 13 Android apps, with hundreds of thousands of downloads, from the Play Store. Google has removed all the infected apps from its Store.

“On December 29 we confirmed our suspicions that additional apps containing Brain Test malware were in Google Play. We found 13 Brain Test samples in total, written by the same developers. We contacted Google, who promptly removed these 13 apps from the Google Play Store,” states cybersecurity firm, Lookout, which reports the return of Brain Test malware in the Play Store.

The infected apps removed from the Play Store are the following:

Cake Blast, Jump Planet, Honey Comb, Crazy Block, Crazy Jelly, Tiny Puzzle, Ninja Hook, Piggy Jump, Just Fire, Eat Bubble, Hit Planet, Cake Tower and Drag Box.

Brain Test Malware

What’s the Brain Test malware?

The malicious app basically attempts to detect if a device is rooted (Rooting is the process of allowing users of smartphones, tablets and other devices running the Android mobile operating system to attain privileged control (known as root access) over various Android subsystems, it’s like Jailbreak for iOS), and then it copies several files to the/system partition.

Performing factory reset is not enough to remove the app from the compromised device, as the process does not clear the/system partition.

The solution

If your device is rooted and you think that your device has been compromised with this malware, the best solution is to first create a backup of all important data of the Android device and then re-flash stock update released by the manufacturer.

The current version of the Brain Test malware bears features similar to the original version of the malware detected in September 2015. Brain Test was first discovered by cybersecurity firm, Check Point, in September, which claims the malware was published to Google Play Store twice, with each instance having between 100,000 and 500,000 downloads. The malicious apps that had affected 200,000 to one million users, was later on removed from the Play Store.

The primary goal of this malware is to download and install additional APKs, directed by the C2 (Command and Control) server. The developer of the malware uses infected devices to download other malicious software, which in turn boosts the download numbers for each app and can post fake reviews.

Lookout states that it took the authors of the malware more than two or three months to explore means to publish the affected apps in the Play Store. A few days before Christmas 2015, the Cake Tower app received an update, which featured a similar functionality found in the initial version of Brain Test, as well as included a new command and control (C2) server.

What about having WhatsApp on your wrist?

You can already have an encyclopedia on your wrist, so why not a messaging service?

That’s at least the thinking behind the makers of WhatsApp, who have released their app for Android Wear.

Beginning today, WhatsApp has now been made available for Android Wear devices. You’ll be able to read your messages and even reply to them from your smartwatch.


Now don’t think you’ll be typing away on a tiny screen; you’ll need to talk into your wrist Dick Tracy style to dictate the messages. What’s interesting is that WhatsApp hasn’t made the update public. There isn’t any mention of it on the Google Play Store, nor have they made any official announcements regarding the latest update.

You’ll need to manually install the update to get the feature as well; it won’t be pushed to your device. It should be headed to the Google Play Store very soon, but if you want to start talking into your wrist, then you can click the source link below and go to town.

Facebook Home Hits ‘About 1 Million’ Downloads Mobile, and gets HTC One And Samsung Galaxy S4 Support


Four weeks ago, Facebook launched Facebook Home, a launcher for Android that brings the social network’s experience front and center.

The company on Thursday invited a small group of reporters to its campus to discuss Facebook Home, its successes and challenges, and what we can expect to see added to the platform in the future.

“We’re at just about 1 million downloads on Home,” Facebook’s Director of Mobile Engineering Cory Ondrejka told the group, a number which he says is about where Facebook wanted to be at this time. He didn’t, however, share how many of those 1 million downloads were currently active users of the app. The company says the number will be important to them in the future. Right now it is focusing on the engagement level of those current active users, however many there happen to be.

“This is the first product for us that has focused on mobile best,” Ondrejka said.

Mobile best is different than Facebook’s focus on “mobile first.” Home is the first product the company has created with an intention to make mobile better than the experience you might get elsewhere.

“We’re doing a relatively slow roll out intentionally,” says Ondrejka, so Facebook can learn from early adopters, and make changes as necessary.

From that slow roll out –- and reviews in Google Play — Facebook has learned a bit about what people love about the launcher, and what’s missing.

“We’ve spent a lot of time digging through the one star ratings,” says Ondrejka.

Ondrejka says there are two major features that weren’t in Home at launch that people really think the launcher needs. The first is folders, and the second is docks. Facebook has fixes to both issues in the works, with plans to release those features in future updates.

During the event, we were given a quick look at what that feature will look like when it is released.

Another growth point for Facebook with Home is its “chat heads” feature. Users believe the feature is great for continuing a conversation, but not as useful when it comes to starting one. To help alleviate that issue, Facebook is planning to add a new buddy list from Facebook home where users can pull out a list of their friends to initiate a conversation

Facebook Home is currently only officially available on the HTC One X or One X+, Samsung’s Galaxy S III, or the Galaxy Note II. The app also comes pre-loaded on the HTC First from AT&T. Facebook says the app has also been sideloaded onto over 10,000 unsupported devices by industrious Android users.

Facebook Home is currently sitting at a 2.2 star rating in Google Play.

Facebook Home will be updated monthly starting today with primarily a bug-fixing update and is scheduled to receive another update July 11. The features shown off today will be released in the coming months.

What features do you hope to see in Facebook Home in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments

While facebook home may not be for everyone, it gained some serious traction since its introduction,today at facebook HQ,Cory On drejka, director of mobile enginnering let loose that, in the month since facebook was first released.

Facebook Home Updated With HTC One And Samsung Galaxy S4 Support

Facebook Home Updated With HTC One And Samsung Galaxy S4 Support

When Facebook Home was first announced, the launcher was made available only to a select couple of handsets, older handsets in fact, like the Samsung Galaxy S3, the HTC One X, One X+ and so on. Well the good news is that if you’ve been eagerly waiting to get Facebook Home onto your brand new HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4, you’re in luck as the launcher has since been updated to include support for both the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4. Apart from that, the app has also received additional updates such as several performance and improvements.

Facebook did state that they plan to include more features in future updates of the launcher, such as Dock, Dash Bar and a new user experience. No word on when these features will be made available, but in the meantime for HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 owners, this update is for you. If you’re interested in giving the launcher a go, head on over to the Google Play store for the free download and to check to see if your phone is supported by it.

Google Play Gets Sleek Makeover on Android!

Buying new apps, books or music with your Android device may look a bit more swanky now, as Google announced the roll-out for a sharp new look for it’s Google Play store.

“The new design focuses on bigger images that jump off the page,” the company writes on the Official Android Blog. “Similarly themed content is grouped together so you can hone in on a magazine to read or an app to try.”

The redesigned Play Store is now available for Android phones and tablets running Android 2.2 (Froyo) or above, and it’s noticeably sparser and larger.

Google play updates look_2

Content is grouped together more closely, and Google has integrated more recommendation-based products to take advantage of the smaller display real estate. Most importantly, it’s much easier to go through checkout on the mobile device, allowing for a speedier purchase of games, books and video.

While roll-out has begun today, it’s important to note that it may not reach your particular phone model for the next few weeks. Still, the new look makes Google Play much prettier and more practical to use.

Google’s Play Store May Soon Get a New Design!


Google’s been awfully busy these past few weeks, but it seems that between sunsetting Reader(and pissing off most of the Internet in the process) and rolling out new services like Google Keep,the company has been working on a redesigned version of the Google Play Store for Android. That’s what the folks at Droid-Life claim, anyway. They appear to have obtained and installed the unreleased 4.0 version of the Google Play Android app ahead of a wider release.

The Play Store’s current mobile design first rolled out in July 2012, and while Google has seen fit to rebrand and tinker with a few things since then, more than a few bits look essentially the same as they did back then. If this is the real deal (and I strongly suspect that it is), then Google Play is about to get quite a facelift. Gone are the gloomy blacks and dark grays that used to permeate the app.

This new version returns to a lighter color scheme that’s highly reminiscent of the old Android Market days. On the whole, the new app also looks much cleaner and more spacious than the Play Store that so many of us have gotten used to.

It’s not hard to see some similarities between the updated Play Store app and the Google Now design — there’s a more pronounced focus on bigger images and italicized text. What’s more, individual app listings are separated into little cards rather than being displayed in a more traditional list, yet another sign that Google’s Play Store developers are cribbing UI flourishes from Google Now. If anything, the unification of design between these two services makes me wonder just how far Google plans to go here. After all, Google Now and the Play Store are cornerstones of the Android experience. It wouldn’t be a huge shock to see the next version of Android take a similar approach to aesthetics.

At this point there’s no firm word on when (or if) this update is slated to go live, but it’s very possible that Google could wait until I/O to officially pull back the curtain on a redesigned Play Store app. In the meantime, major mobile players like Facebook are exploring ways to bypass the Play Store completely and push new updates to users, so here’s hoping Google pushes the update out before others follow suit.