Posted on January 14, 2019 at 3:38 PM
The new wave of malware-riddled Android apps continues to expand through the Google Play Store, and despite its best efforts — Google can’t seem to stop it. Only a week ago, Google was forced to delete up to 85 adware-infected apps. While many believed that this would make a difference, it appears that there is more work to be done, as 9 new apps with similar adware were just discovered on the Play Store.
The discovery of the new apps’ condition was made by ESET’s security researcher, Lukas Stefanko. According to his report, nine more Play Store apps —mostly pretending to be a home appliance and universal TV-related apps — are infected with adware. After unsuspecting users install these apps, most of them quickly notice that the apps are not acting properly.
Most of the time, they display numerous full-screen ads, which tends to happen whenever the user presses a button. Furthermore, users cannot even delete them properly, as they can disappear from the home screen.
Google Play Store’s statistics show that around 8 million users have downloaded these 9 apps, in total. They were posted by a developer called “Tools4TV,” and Android users are advised not to download this developer’s apps in the future. Right now, it appears that Google has already removed the infected apps, as they cannot be found within the Play Store anymore.
The number of infected apps has been growing year after year, and experts believe that growth is connected to the ever-increasing popularity of smart devices. With more exposure, hackers, scammers, and other cybercriminals have more people to trick and steal their data, generate revenue, or misuse their devices in some other way.
The troubling part is that cybercriminals are getting better and better in hiding their apps’ malicious nature, and many of them can remain on the Play Store for years without being discovered. As mentioned, even this newest case has left millions of users around the world with infected devices, and that was only nine apps.
Protect your smartphone from malware
With an increase in malicious apps, it is important to also raise awareness of this problem and educate users on how to protect their devices. While there are many methods through which this can be accomplished, here are some of the easiest ones to do in order to stay safe:
- Update your smartphone’s software on a regular basis. This includes the operating system and apps alike.
- Download an antivirus/antimalware software.
- Do not open emails, links, or attachments from someone you do not know.
- Do not download apps from third-party websites. While the Play Store does have its fair share of troubles regarding malicious apps, third-party sites are likely dealing with a lot more.
- Unfamiliar app publishers should be avoided, even on Google Play Store.
- Remember to read user reviews, and check out as many of them as possible.