Thirty Android applications from the Play Store hide malware. They are programmed to flood the user with advertisements. Applications are also able to hide from the sight of their victims. Discover the list of apps to uninstall without delay.
Bitdefender computer security researchers have discovered traces of malware on the Play Store. Thanks to a new detection tool, they identified 35 Android apps hiding malware on the Google store.
Apparently the crooks behind the operation managed to circumvent security measures of the firm. Once displayed in the Play Store catalog, the applications were even regularly updated. These additions contained modules intended to hide the presence of apps on a phone.
According to tests carried out by AV-TEST antivirus, Play Protect, the system that checks the security of applications before they are downloaded from the Play Store, is far from infallible. This is why it is not uncommon to find infected applications there. At the beginning of August, Trend Micro pinned 17 malicious Android applications there.
How these malicious Android apps hide from their victims
Once installed on the user’s smartphone, the applications will start to display pop-up advertisements. These advertisements will pop up anytime the user visits a website, writes an SMS or uses another application. In this way, criminals can generate significant advertising revenue.
Many malware programs are designed to deliver advertisements to users’ smartphones. This widespread monetization technique degrades the user experience by slowing down the Android interface. Displaying ads can also damage phone components, causing them to overheat.
According to Bitdefender, apps can theoretically deploy other malware on Android smartphones. A future update may add more capabilities to apps.
To avoid being uninstalled by victims, infected applications quickly change their names. Applications will rename itself Settings. The icon representing the application will also change accordingly. Finally, they will not appear in the list of recently opened applications.
” When a user looks at recent apps opened on the device, the adware app is not present », explains Bitdefender.
Impossible for an average user to get their hands on it. Again, this trick is used by many malware. This is the case of xHelper which goes so far as to erase the icon from the home screen.
Related: Brata malware is back on Android, it’s even more dangerous
The list of 35 virus-infected Android apps
Several of the applications pinned by Bitdefender have been downloaded over 100,000 times. The less popular titles have more than 10,000 installations. The researchers therefore believe that more than two million smartphones were infected during the operation. Here is the list of affected apps:
- Wall Lights – Wallpapers Pack
- Big Emoji – Keyboard
- Graduate Wallpapers – 3D Decors
- Engine Wallpapers – Live and 3D
- Wallpapers – 4K & HD
- EffectMania – Photo Editor
- Art Filter – Deep Photo Effect
- Fast Emoji Keyboard
- Create sticker for whatsapp
- Math Solver – Camera Wizard
- Photopix Effects – Art Filter
- Led Theme – Colorful Keyboard
- Keyboard – Funny Emoji, Sticker
- Smart Wi-Fi
- My GPS position
- Image distortion camera
- Art Girls HD Wallpaper
- cat simulator
- Smart QR Creator
- Colorize an old photo
- GPS locator
- Girls Art Wallpaper
- Smart QR scanner
- GPS location maps
- Volume control
- secret horoscope
- Smart GPS location
- Animated Sticker Master
- Personality charging show
- sleep sounds
- QR Creator
- Media volume slider
- secret astrology
- Colorize photos
- Phi Wallpaper 4K – Anime HD
As of this writing, Google has not yet removed the apps from the list. If you have installed one of the above applications, we recommend that you remove it urgently. Also check that your smartphone does not have two Settings or Settings applications.
How to identify malicious applications?
To avoid falling into the trap of scammers, Bitdefender recommends being careful when downloading an app, even from the Play Store. First of all, avoid installing an Android application that has many downloads but few reviews.
This is particularly the case of GPS location mapswhich lists 100,000 downloads, but not the slightest opinion. This strangeness should alert you. In some cases, negative comments or user testimonials can also help identify deception.
Avoid apps that claim many permissionsincluding access to features that have nothing to do with their primary purpose. For example, there’s no reason a mobile calendar needs access to your photos or your microphone. Finally, we recommend that you systematically delete the apps that you do not use.