13 apps on Google Play store found to contain malware

Anne Freier | November 26, 2018

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A total of 13 game apps that were infected with malware have been uncovered by ESET security specialist Lukas Stefanko. The apps had been downloaded and installed 560,000 times from the Google Play store before they were removed.

All 13 apps had been created by the same developer and two had made it onto the Google Play store’s ‘Trending’ section.

In addition, a large number of reviews for the apps were fake.

Specifically, the apps were car-based games that attracted users through misleading thumbnails and false in-game screenshots.

However, upon installation, the app would appear to crash at launch and then hide its logo to avoid uninstallation.

If left uninstalled, the apps downloaded another APK in the background to display adverts to a phone when unlocked.

If not worrying enough, the malware could also access device network traffic to access a user’s personal data.

Although ESET did uncover that all apps had been developed by Luiz O Pinto, it is likely he used an alias.

The case highlights that consumers should remain vigilant when it comes to downloading apps from the Play store, but also address any malfunctioning apps in an effort to avoid security breaches.

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