As InterSloth's latest game Among Us has quickly become a fan favorite on both PC and mobile, cybercriminals have taken note and they are now using fake versions of the game to distribute malware to unsuspecting users.
According to new research from the app protection firm Promon and its partner Wultra, more than 60 fake apps masquerading as the popular online multiplayer game have been discovered online.
For those unfamiliar with the game, in Among Us you play as a crewmate on a spaceship with up to ten other players who all need to complete small tasks around different areas of the ship. However, some of the players, between one and three, are 'imposters' whose job it is to stealthily kill all of the other crewmates without anyone figuring out who they are.
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As Among Us isn't a graphically intense game, it can be played on multiple platforms including mobile and the app is available on both the Google Play Store and on Apple's App Store for free with in-app purchases.
Promon and Wultra discovered more than 60 fake Among Us apps from at least nine different authors being distributed on third-party app stores and websites. Of these, more than 75 percent have been repackaged to incorporate malicious code which turns the legitimate game into adware. As a result, large ads appear constantly and take over the app's usual interface.
However, several of the fake apps discovered were found to be malware droppers which are used by cybercriminals to install more severe types of malware such as banking trojans on a user's device. These types of malware can also steal a user's login credentials as well as other personally identifiable information.
CTO of Promon Tom Lysemose Hansen provided further insight on these fake Among Us apps and the dangers they pose to users in a press release, saying:
“Cybercriminals and, more specifically, malware designers, are paying close attention to the rise and fall of popular gaming trends in order to decide upon their next target. The concern here is that this particular game is very popular amongst young people, who are generally unconcerned with mobile app security and will download not only what they think is a legitimate version of the game, but also mods, maps, skins, and resource packs, without any consideration of how dangerous the source may be."
In order to safely play Among US on mobile, it is highly recommended that users download the app from official app stores as opposed to trying to side-load it.
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After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.