Whenever you visit the app store - whether it's iTunes or Google Play - you'll find hundreds upon thousands of apps to help you complete a wide variety of virtually any type of task. All seems well, but the hidden truth is that not all of these apps are what they seem.
Case in point? There's a new family of apps riddled with malware, currently being called "Godless" that is "a collection of rooting exploits" that can force your phone to download unwanted apps, show you unwanted ads, and hackers can also have the ability to install a backdoor and spy on its hacked users.
To top it off, hackers are duplicating developer certificates, so while a user might have downloaded an app without the malware, the duplicated certificate could mean that you download the malware when you update the app.
To make matters worse, the malware affects any device running Android 5.1 or earlier, which is 90 percent of ALL Android devices. On top of that, a reported 850,000 devices have been infected worldwide, with less than 2 percent in the U.S.
The only app named in connection with Godless is an app called Summer Flashlight, which was pulled from the Google Play Store after it was installed up to 5,000 times.
How to stay safe
There are a couple general rules of thumb you need to consider before you blindly download an app.
- Don't download apps outside of iTunes, Google Play or Amazon. Both stores have a vetting process and while some malicious apps can slip through the cracks, both stores will work quickly to solve any security issue.
- Don't download an app from an unknown developer. Do a little bit of research with a few clicks. Check out the developer's website, other apps and the like. If the developer doesn't seem legitimate, then it probably isn't.