Researchers have detected around 172 malicious apps on Google Play Store. Moreover, those infected apps were found with over 335 million downloads in September 2019. ESET researcher Lukas Stefanko said that a majority of those malicious apps were harboring adware, Threatpost reports.
“Unwanted ads or adware is popular category because after installation it does not request any further inputs, like banking trojans, and can simply generate revenue for developers right from the beginning,” Threatpost quoted Stefanko. “Also, it is not as difficult to create adware as it is to create Android ransomware or banking Trojans,” Stefanko added.
The malicious category includes the applications that are infected by adware, subscription scams, hidden ads, SMS premium subscription, and more. But the report also mentions that most of the apps that were found to be malicious have been removed. Last month, Google reportedly deleted close to 50 apps from the marketplace belonging to Chinese mobile developer iHandy.
Separately, in June this year, a study found that 2,040 apps on Google Play Store are harmful in some way. The study by the University of Sydney and Data61 of CSIRO says the research included about 1 million apps available on the Play Store. The most common issue being that these apps require suspicious amount of permissions. But, some of the apps have been straight up called as malware. The report is another instance highlighting Google’s failure to guard Play Store from fraudulent developers.
The study highlights that there are a large amount of fake apps on Play Store that are not malware. It adds that these apps require permissions to access data that they don’t need in the first place. Some of the popular titles asking for such permissions include Temple Run and Hill Climb Racing. The researchers used neural networks and machine learning to understand and process all the one million apps.
– With inputs from IANS