Google Play Store Played Again – Tekya Clicker Hides in 24 Children’s Games and 32 Utility Apps

March 24, 2020
Research by Israel WernikDanil Golubenko , Aviran Hazum 


Although Google has taken steps to secure its Play store and stop malicious activity, hackers are still finding ways to infiltrate the app store and access users’ devices. Millions of mobile phone users have unintentionally downloaded malicious apps that have the ability to compromise their data, credentials, emails, text messages, and geographical location. For example, in February 2020, the Haken malware family was installed in over 50,000 Android devices by eight different malicious apps, all of which initially appeared to be safe.

Recently, Check Point’s researchers identified a new malware family that was operating in 56 applications and downloaded almost 1 million times worldwide.  With the goal of committing mobile ad fraud, the malware – dubbed ‘Tekya’ – imitates the user’s actions in order to click ads and banners from agencies like Google’s AdMob, AppLovin’, Facebook, and Unity.

Twenty four of the infected apps were aimed at children (ranging from puzzles to racing games), with the rest being utility apps (such as cooking apps, calculators, downloaders, translators, and so on).


The Tekya malware obfuscates native code to avoid detection by Google Play Protect and utilizes the ‘MotionEvent’ mechanism in Android (introduced in 2019) to imitate the user’s actions and generate clicks.

During this research, the Tekya malware family went undetected by VirusTotal and Google Play Protect. Ultimately, it was available for download in 56 applications downloadable on Google Play.

This campaign cloned legitimate popular applications to gain an audience, mostly with children, as most application covers for the Tekya malware are children’s games. The good news is, these infected applications have all been removed from Google Play.

However, this highlights once again that the Google Play Store can still host malicious apps. There are nearly 3 million apps available from the store, with hundreds of new apps being uploaded daily – making it difficult to check that every single app is safe.  Thus, users cannot rely on Google Play’s security measures alone to ensure their devices are protected.

The full list of infected apps is listed below.


Figure 1 – Google Play pages for some of the ‘Tekya’ applications

Technical Analysis

Upon installation of this application from Google Play, a receiver is registered (‘us.pyumo.TekyaReceiver’) for multiple actions:

  • ‘BOOT_COMPLETED’ to allow code running at device startup (“cold” startup)
  • ‘USER_PRESENT’ in order to detect when the user is actively using the device
  • ‘QUICKBOOT_POWERON’ to allow code running after device restart

Figure 2 – TekyaReceiver registration

This receiver has one purpose — to load the native library ‘’ in the ‘libraries’ folder inside the .apk file.

Figure 3 – TekyaReceiver’s code

Inside the constructor for the ‘Tekya’ library, a list of “Validator” objects (that don’t validate anything) is created.

Figure 4 – Part of the ‘Tekya’ constructor

Inside each “Validator”, another method called runs an internal function from the native library ‘’.

In the case of the ‘AdmobValidator’, the function calls the ‘c’ function, which then runs the ‘z’ function, which in turn calls the ‘zzdtxq’ function from the native library.

Figure 5 – AdmobValidator’s overridden function and calling internal native function

Inside the ‘’ native library, this function, which is called from the “Validator”s, is responsible for multiple actions:

  • calling ‘ffnrsv’ function – which is responsible for parsing the configuration file
  • calling the ‘getWindow’ and ‘getDecorView’ to get the needed handles
  • calling a sub-function, ‘sub_AB2C’ with the results of the functions above


Figure 6 – Tekya’s ‘zzdtxq’s native code

Lastly, the sub-function ‘sub_AB2C’ creates and dispatches touch events, imitating a click via the ‘MotionEvent’ mechanism



Figure 7 – VirusTotal output for ‘Tekya’ applications

How to protect yourself?

If you suspect you may have one of these infected apps on your device, here’s what you should do:

  • Uninstall the infected application from the device
  • Install a security solution to prevent future infections
  • Update your device Operation System and Applications to the latest version

Furthermore, enterprises need to ensure their employees corporate devices can be secured against sophisticated mobile cyberattacks like Tekya or Haken (or any other malware) with SandBlast Mobile.  To protect personal devices against attacks, Check Point offers ZoneAlarm Mobile Security.


Appendix 1 – IOC’s

Package_name Removed by Google/Developer Gp Installs Developer C&C sha256
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com.leo.letmego Google 100000 Leopardus Studio b21cb5ebfb692a2db1c5cbbc20e00d90a4e04ca1c2c3f7b25cb0bbc13b43f5eb
com.caculator.biscuitent Google 50000 Biscuit Ent 734418efafd312e9b3e96adaac6f86cc1a4565f69baf831945788399bc9d1c5f
com.pantanal.aquawar Google 50000 Pantanal Entertainment 8fec77c47421222cc754b32c60794e54409a55ac5a002b300b5b35c4718fd0b0
com.pantanal.dressup Google 50000 Pantanal Entertainment 64e2c905bcef400e861469e114bf4eaf2b00b11c4d002f902b8d02c4074efb22 Google 50000 World TravelX ebe3546208fd32d3f6a9e5daf21a724089febb1f61978bfd51f0edb520ae4348 Google 50000 Lynx StudioX f805e128b9d686170f51b1add35e45ea939d166b5ada4b6e900511518655f243
travel.withu.translate Google 50000 World TravelX b7670b5d9a6643a54b800b4cb344f43b7826b2504cab949a96dd42e8c3fc5bc5
allday.a24h.translate Developer 10000 Royal Chow Studio 29f2fd6ccf0f632e45dd1f15ec72985cfab56b0b4a07cb0b11b6011d1f7ebe32
banz.stickman.runner.parkour Google 10000 Biaz Inc e1027b6681e93d9763f19ea7e5ab2522362ebc27e29863e11822ca1e3b203fae
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com.goldencat.hillracing Developer 10000 Golden Cat 94e256a3ce62564e1e61b612375c6be4d90c99849edcadfe05bf13863a1029e3
com.hexa.puzzle.hexadom Google 10000 MajorStudioX 3eeae3f56011aa7b858d38fc7f60a580d3b90bdfe194a7d6ad67bea1680002c2 Google 10000 Titanyan Entertainment f4b3143ec3091bc07cfb443efb6b076becad719438aeaf58cf1da65136aab74a
com.maijor.cookingstar Google 10000 MajorStudioX 57260286c49599a9b65851888b8f30ffe497c1f013bc6d760943789cbceb16fe
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com.pdfreader.biscuit Google 10000 Biscuit Ent 215ff546710b96c69130cfef9b4d719a9866ceffd3c9cc2ba113e731a23309a6
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com.yeyey.translate Google 10000 World TravelX 967f136cb2824e8c49b3bde8e910ac7a93a64339a3e2a060a15fb745b1211487
leo.unblockcar.puzzle Google 10000 Biaz Inc 9ee67b541335b88b6649afe184ba75cac084e20bbc465d998bac05cc85d59cff Google 10000 MochiMicho 6de03bf38e462fc9205e2a7cb49b7ed48d52bf84ec4f3aebdd84e31374832042 Google 10000 MochiMicho f33f5d7fd3909380582d821394c59dc78aa06113932143662d69733542ad571b
multi.translate.threeinone Google 10000 White Whale Studio 72f924b6c597a5eb68e4c35843ad6b3ffa7b71396abb2a4c8dafd39b9832a4c4
pro.infi.translator Google 10000 World TravelX 5d1ec6427f7f6fe49ac95687257818ef0a0890159cc14a9e866ddeabd1c2568b
rapid.snap.translate Developer 10000 Royal Chow Studio 0045e2dc65a236fa05b18cbef767715cca4720ec3d3c8fb522264b8339669527
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biscuitent.imgdownloader Google 5000 Biscuit Ent 3c943adc94489cc6c75bd5b6354c0af0f75f9d5710379e8cda02370352570156
biscuitent.instant.translate Google 5000 Biscuit Ent ce0161ca7702713251e21497ab2105fa4bf07e4f58f4622b64c4cbf2d86dd2fb
com.besttranslate.biscuit Google 5000 Biscuit Ent 0c3aa1e07366fe37a693bae4833ce713de6eab2874a480f054c8442589ba71e0
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com.tapsmore.challenge Google 1000 Biscuit Ent 48135e74fe912dbaff83989ca85894826afcd98ea80dde61793d72c11073dddd Google 1000 MochiMicho 5a9ddb23df77fc305ffb66d2bf6570a3f7789846f17541eb7dfea40899724018
com.hexamaster.anim Google 500 Leopardus Studio faad1e3ea694e15f8817387d3409c5cad871c5953e2ef57df0573719f4fe20ee
com.twmedia.downloader Google 100 MochiMicho 5a87a8e648af47368c2cfd0fc2b4b75f04ddff76ab9266d2b3fa1ff928b31857
com.caracal.burningman Google 50 Caracal Entertainment bee86d3b154aed3ca7665ea5d7d6c2fc49e8454126e39b9887604cbb5f5a0474
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