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November 26, 2018 • Security, Top Articles

It's easier than ever for Android users to accidentally download malware

More than 500,000 Android users accidentally downloaded malware (Image from securityantivirus.org)

When it comes to the security of our personal devices, phones go down the list almost every time. We are far from the confidence of app developers and stores, such as Google Play, even to think that there may be something hidden in a platform that we are so familiar with.

Lukas Stefanko, security researcher at ESET, found 13 malware disguised as Play Store games that were downloaded by more than 560,000 people before Google removed them. All of these applications come from the same developer named Luiz Pinto.

Stefanko detailed his findings in a tweet, noting that two of the suspect applications were trending, making them more visible to potential downloaders, and that these applications seemed flawed, crashing whenever they were opened but without legitimate functionality to start with.

According to a report by Tech Crunch, what these applications were doing was downloading a useful load from another Istanbul site, installing malware and then deleting the application icon so it could not be tracked. The purpose of these malicious applications is unclear, only that they have had full access to the network traffic of the phone, seeing multiple malware scanners had different classifications for what they detected.

Scott Westover, spokesperson for Google, confirmed that apps "violated our policies and were removed from the Play Store."

Only last year Google had to shoot more than 700,000 malicious applications from his store. This recent intrusion will only serve as a reminder that Google has a lot to do to enhance its security on the platform, and that Android users need to take special care of what they are processing from the Google Play Store.

De Daniëlle Kruger
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