Play Store Apps Caught Spreading Android Malware to Millions

The apps were loaded with info-stealing malware that can extract victims’ Facebook credentials and download other software, etc.

According to researchers at Dr. Web, at least a dozen mobile apps on Google Play Store contain info-stealing malware, adware, and other types of malicious software. Most of the apps are Android-based and collectively boast over 2 million downloads. Based on the app reviews, users aren’t too happy with these apps because of their shady functioning.

Details of Malicious Apps

Researchers noted that five infected apps were available for download on Play Store. These include:

  1. Wild & Exotic Animal Wallpaper: It contains adware that replaces its name with SIM Tool Kit soon after downloading. It has 500,000 downloads so far.
  2. PIP Pic Camera Photo Editor– This app appears as an image editor, but in reality, it steals the Facebook credentials of its users. This app has over 100,000 downloads.
  3. ZodiHoroscope – Fortune Finder- This is another malicious app designed to steal Facebook credentials. It has 500,000 downloads.
  4. PIP Camera 2022– This app showcases various camera effects but actually steals your Facebook profile information. Around 50,000 users have downloaded it.
  5. Magnifier Flashlight: This malicious app contains adware and has around 10,000 downloads.

According to Dr.Web’s report, researchers identified four additional malicious apps that aren’t available on the platform anymore. The apps included a racing game, an app offering deleted photos recovery, a state compensation app for Russians, and an app for free access to OnlyFans.

Though these apps are no longer available to the general public, the risk posed to users who have downloaded them already cannot be overlooked. The worrying aspect is that the malicious apps can steal data from other apps installed on your phone.

Malicious apps pointed out by Dr.Web

Lesson

When this article was published, all apps highlighted by Dr. Web were removed from Google Play Store. However, the lesson for smartphone users is that they must not download unnecessary apps from Official or third-party app stores.

Furthermore, always read reviews and feedback in the app’s review section. Although some reviews can be fake or published by developers to promote their app, primarily, the review section plays a vital role in keeping users secure by avoiding downloading malicious apps.

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