Posted on August 19, 2022 at 8:31 AM
Cybercriminals are not relenting in their efforts to find ways to compromise systems and connected devices. There is now an increasing number of applications designed to steal credentials from users who install them. Recently, security researchers at Bitdefender discovered 35 malicious apps on the Google Play store. The most interesting thing is the fact these apps have already had more than 2 million installations.
The increasing number of malicious apps on such reputable platforms has led to a higher number of infections on smartphones. Now more applications and devices are being exposed to malware and banking Trojans.
Malicious Apps Keep Turning Up On Play Store
While Google has been making efforts to enhance its security over the years, malicious campaigns have continuously found their way into the PlayStore. They are using innovative methods to get around corporate safety controls. The security firm noted that the advertisements enable scammers and cybercriminals to reach their monetary goals. Apart from gaining advertisement revenues, they go ahead to direct the users who are sent to malicious sites that plant additional malware on the users’ targeted devices.
The researchers stated that the cybercriminals responsible for the activities generally use different methods to deceive their victims and trick them into unknowingly installing malicious apps on their devices. For instance, some of the fake apps provide various updates that enable the threat actors to hide and circumvent detection on the device. They can hide in the device for a very long time stealing important data.
The Apps Act Like Genuine Programs To Deceive Users
While many genuine apps advertise to their users, these malicious ones show apps through their framework, allowing them to serve other types of malware to their victims’ devices. In most cases, the users are allowed to delete the apps. But the malicious ones, when installed, can change their name and icon, making them very difficult to detect. Once they have succeeded in tricking their victims to install the app, they change their features and stay hidden in the user’s device while causing all sorts of damage.
But one good thing about the report is the fact that Bitdefender was able to identify the malicious campaign with a new system that has not been unveiled yet. The security team used behavioral technology meant to identify the activities of malicious apps after installation.
This method can be utilized in tracking malware behavior across all channels such as social media platforms and websites. After the data is retrieved, it can be deployed to improve user experience and security in real-time.
The new technology is slowly being deployed to Bitdefender’s customer base and will be rolled out to everyone in the coming months.
The most popular malicious apps discovered with more than 100,000 downloads are listed below:
Animated Sticker Master 1.0
Art Filter – Deep Photoeffect 2.0
Big Emoji – Keyboard 5.0
Create Sticker for Whatsapp 2.0
EffectMania – Photo Editor 2.0
Fast Emoji Keyboard APK
GPS Location Finder
Grand Wallpapers – 3D Backdrops 2.0
Image Warp Camera
Led Theme – Colorful Keyboard 2.0
Math Solver – Camera Helper 2.0
Personality Charging Show 1.0
Photopix Effects – Art Filter 2.0
Sleep Sounds 1.0
Walls light – Wallpapers Pack
Protection Against Malicious Apps
Google Play Store is frequently targeted by malware developers since there are more than 2 billion active android devices. While there are several genuine programs available on the platform, it’s no secret that some cybercriminals are also using the platform to expand their malware campaign. Some malware such as Joker, DawDropper, Xenomorph, SharkBot, and many more have regularly found their way into Google Play Store which people unknowingly download.
Despite these, Play Store is one of the most secure places to download Android apps. The number of malware found on the platform is considerably fewer than the number found on other platforms.
It is still the most popular platform to download Android software. Since these are needed for users to enjoy their android devices, the only appropriate thing to do is to follow security protocols to reduce the risk of downloading malware. First, users should ensure that they are running the latest version of Android. Google is always providing updates for its Android devices to make them more secure. Users are advised to make sure that their devices are regularly updated to reduce the risk of being exposed to malicious apps.