These 90 Android apps want to make your life miserable and have been downloaded 5.5 million times

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When you download an app from an official marketplace like Google Play, you generally assume it is safe. However, more often than Google would like to admit, apps that look harmless but are dangerous have made it to the store. In the last few months alone, 90 malicious apps were found on Google Play.Criminals often think a step ahead of everyone else, which is how they succeed in convincing Google to let them host their apps on its store and make their products look useful enough to be downloaded by millions of people.

No matter how smart cyber criminals are, there is always someone ready to catch them. This time around, Zscaler ThreatLabz emerged as a saviour. The company identified the 90 apps that were available on Google Play and were downloaded more than 5.5 million times.

Many of the apps were dropper apps which are apps that look valuable to users and exist to install malware on their device. The harmful apps were found to be spreading different malware families, including Joker, Adware, Facestealer, Anatsa, and Coper.

Though only 2 and 1 percent of the apps were found to be facilitating the installation of Antasa and Copper respectively, that’s alarming enough, considering they are both very impactful trojans.

Two apps associated with Antasa mentioned in the report are PDF Reader & File Manager and QR Reader & File Manager, which were downloaded over 70,000 times.

The names of the other 88 apps have not been revealed, with the report only saying that 39 percent of them fell under the Tools category, 20 percent were personalisation apps, around 13 percent were related to Photography, and the rest belonged to the Productivity, Health & Fitness, Communication, Art & Design, and Entertainment categories.

The researchers also found that the malicious apps targeted residents of the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Finland, South Korea, and Singapore.

The report serves as another reminder that you can never be careful enough when downloading an app and even if you only install apps from the Google Play Store, you must take a zero-trust approach and check for things such as user reviews and the name of the publisher to ensure you are not downloading a malicious app.


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