The apps manage to hide from the sight of their victims. Researchers in Bitdefender computer security detected a trail of malicious software, called malware, on the Play Store. Thanks to a new detection algorithm, they were able to identify 35 Android applications concealing malware on the Google Store. We tell you everything about these applications.
It would seem that the scammers behind the operation knew circumvent protective measures of the society. Once posted in the catalog of the Play Store, the applications have even been the subject of regular updates. These extensions contained elements intended to hide application trace on a phone. According to tests carried out by antivirus company AV-TEST, Play Protect, the system that checks the security of applications before they are downloaded from the Play Store, isa lack of reliability. This is why it often happens to find dubious apps. In early August, Trend Micro spotted 17 malicious Android apps.
Malicious Android apps hide from their victims
Once these apps are on the user’s smartphone, they start popping up unwanted ads. These advertisements appear whenever the user visits a website, writes an SMS or uses another application. In this way, the criminals manage to generate significant revenue from advertising. Many malicious applications are intended to deliver advertisements to users’ smartphones. This widely used monetization technique degrades the user experience by slowing down the Android interface. The display of advertisements also risksdamage phone componentswhich can overheat.
According to Bitdefender, apps can in principle deploy other malware to Android smartphones. A future update may add more functionality to the apps. To avoid being uninstalled by victims, malicious apps quickly change their name. The applications will be renamed “Settings”. The icon that images the application will also evolve in the same perspective. Finally, they will not appear in the list of recently opened apps. “ When a user looks at recent apps opened on the device, the adware app is not present “says Bitdefender. It therefore becomes impossible for an ordinary user to be able to get their hands on it again. Again, this trick is used by lots of malware. This is the case of xHelper, which goes so far as to remove the icon from the home screen.
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Several of applications spotted by Bitdefender have had over 100,000 downloads. The less popular titles have had over 10,000 installs. The researchers consider that more than two million smartphones were then infected during these downloads. Here is the list of affected applications to avoid at all costs.
Glowing Walls – Wallpapers Pack, Big Emoji – Keyboard, Grad Wallpapers – 3D Backgrounds, Engine Wallpapers – Live & 3D and Stock Wallpapers – 4K & HD. As well as EffectMania – Photo Editor, Art Filter – Deep Photoeffect, Fast Emoji Keyboard, Create Sticker for Whatsapp and Math Solver – Camera Helper. In addition, Photopix Effects – Art Filter, Led Theme – Colorful, Keyboard, Keyboard – Fun Emoji, Sticker, Smart Wifi, My GPS Location, Image Warp Camera, Art Girls Wallpaper HD and Cat Simulator remain dangerous. This does not represent than 18 of the 35 applications containing malware.
There is also Smart QR Creator, Colorize Old Photo, GPS Location Finder, Girls Art Wallpaper, Smart QR Scanner and GPS Location Maps. But also Volume Control, Secret Horoscope, Smart GPS Location, Animated Sticker Master, Personality Charging Show, Sleep Sounds and QR Creator. And finally, other dangerous apps that may contain malware are Media Volume Slider, Secret Astrology, Colorize Photos and Phi 4K Wallpaper – Anime HD. Here are the 35 apps to avoid at all costs.
How to identify malicious applications?
At the time of writing this article, Google has no not yet deleted the various apps from the play store. If you have installed any of the apps above, we advise you to remove it urgently. Also check that your phone does not have two versions of Settings, for example.
To avoid falling into the trap of scammers, Bitdefender recommends be careful when downloading of an application, even on the Play Store. First of all, avoid installing an android app that has a lot of downloads but few reviews. Such is the case of GPS Location Maps, which has 100,000 downloads but no reviews. This anomaly deserves to alert you.
In some cases, negative reviews or user recommendations also help identify a scam. Avoid apps that require many permissionsincluding access to functions unrelated to their primary purpose. For example, there’s no reason why a portable organizer needs to access your photos or your microphone. Finally, we invite you to Systematically remove software you do not want to use.