Google Play Removes 30+ Malicious Apps From Its Store

Google Play recently removed more than 30 fake security apps that secretly stole user information.

According to Trend Micro, a cybersecurity firm, there were 36 known applications that stole user information, tracked their location and belligerently pushed advertisements. It’s not clear how many people may have been affected before Google was informed and then removed them from the Google Play lineup.

Trend Micro Principal Security Strategist Bharat Mistry said the malware apps have become commonplace because cybercriminals are seeing the potential in making money by getting personal information.

Wandera Vice President Dr. Michael Covington said malware on cell phones are the new normal. He said people are used to criminals targeting them on their desktop using malicious downloads in browsers or dangerous e-mail attachments. He said a mobile device makes it easier to trick people into downloading a malicious or tap a phishing SMS.

Covington said there appears to be no sign of a slowdown of mobile malware, which has a 100 percent increase year after year.

Trend Micro said it appears the malicious apps are targeting Android phones for now. There is more malware for these phones for several reasons, but the most common is this:

Platform diversification. Many manufacturers are developing devices that run the Android software, and Google is unable to be as strict with the app reviews. According to Covington, Google is well-known for being soft in the app review process.

Mistry agreed with Covington’s assessment, saying its open community and developer platform lets users install apps from both untrusted and trusted sources with practically no modification to the device.

Covington said iOS users are more susceptible to the phishing attacks while Android users are susceptible to malicious apps.

What Can You Do?

Mistry said users need to use a trustworthy app store like Google Play or Apple’s App Store.
They also need to review the developer of the app to ensure it’s coming from a reputable source. Do a quick Internet search about the developer as well as the app name to ensure they are safe to use.

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Posted by on Jan 6 2018. Filed under New, Sci/Tech. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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