Google Removes 13 Malware Apps from its Play Store
Google has reportedly removed 13 apps from its Play Store that was installing malicious malware on the Android devices. The move by the tech giant came after ESET malware researcher Lukas Stefanko pointed out the issue via a series of tweets.
According to Stefanko’s tweets, these 13 malware apps have been downloaded over 5,60,000 times from the Play Store and they come from the same developer Luiz O Pinto. He also pointed out that two of these 13 apps were also listed in Play Store’s trending section
Stefanko’s tweets further reveal that these malicious apps don’t have any legitimate function of their own. However, they ask the user to download and install an additional APK called the Game Centre. Once the downloaded APK is launched, the icon hides and it displays ads to the affected users when their Android phones are unlocked.
The security researcher pointed out that the Game Center requests the affected user to grant permission for viewing network and Wi-Fi connections and to run at startup. He also shared some videos on the micro-blogging platform demonstrating how these apps work.
Additionally, he also confirmed that the APK is no longer available with the apps.
The list of the malicious apps includes games like Truck Cargo Simulator, Car Driving Simulator, Extreme Car Driving, and Moto Cross Extreme among others. Interestingly, most of these apps have got at least a three-star rating in the Play Store.
Notably, this is not the first time that Google has removed malicious apps from its Play Store. Earlier this year, the tech giant in a blog post revealed that it had removed 7,00,000 malicious Android apps from Play Store in 2017. In the same blog post, the Mountain View, California based company said that it had banned over 1,00,000 developers from the platform. The company also pointed out that the figures for 2017 were 70 percent more than that for 2016.
As one would know, the gaming apps the company removed on being alerted by the security researcher recently wasn’t an isolated incident. Last year, the company also removed 41 apps by a Korean company that harbored the Judy malware, which tried making money for its developers creating fake ad clicks on the infected phones.