Android phones are highly susceptible to malware — due in part to how the Android app store functions. Unlike Apple’s closed ecosystem, publishing apps on Google’s platform is much easier. There are far more checks and balances on Apple’s side.
You may have heard the stories: iPhones and Macs are immune to malware. Is it true? Tap or click here to find out.
Hackers also prefer targeting Android as there are more users globally. It’s an economy of scale, often leading to the discovery of infected apps on the Play Store. Read on for the latest apps that can damage your phone, steal your data or sign you up for premium services.
Here’s the backstory
Earlier this month, Microsoft warned Android users about the increasing instances of toll fraud malware. Falling under the billing fraud category, these apps seem genuine at first. Then you might notice extra charges on your phone bill after some time.
That’s because these infected apps sign you up for premium services without your knowledge or consent. In addition to Microsoft’s warning, security researcher Maxime Ingrao from Evina discovered eight more such apps.
If you have any of these apps installed, you must remove them immediately.
- Vlog Star Video Editor has more than 1 million downloads
- Creative 3D Launcher has been installed more than 1 million times
- Funny Camera has more than 500,000 installations
- Wow Beauty Camera has 100,000 downloads
- Gif Emoji Keyboard has more than 100,000 installations
- Razer Keyboard & Theme has 50,000 installations
- Freeglow Camera 1.0.0 has 5,000 downloads
- Coco camera v1.1 has 1,000 downloads
Ingrao gave the malware the name Autolycos and, in a Twitter post, explained that scammers created multiple Facebook pages to promote the apps. He found 74 ad campaigns for Razer Keyboard & Theme malware alone.
Here’s how to delete an app from your Android phone:
- Open the Google Play Store app.
- At the top right, tap the Profile icon.
- Tap Manage apps & devices and then tap on Manage.
- Next, tap the name of the app you want to delete.
- Finally, tap Uninstall.
What you can do about it
It’s challenging to spot infected Android apps. But there are a few things that you can do to stay protected.
- Never download apps from third-party libraries. Instead, only use the official Google Play Store for all your apps.
- Just because an app is on the Google Play Store, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. Be on the lookout for apps that use a similar logo to other popular apps or have similar functions. Also, check reviews to see if others are warning about suspicious activity.
- Pay attention to the permissions an app requests. For example, it’s a red flag if an app wants full access to your text messages or notifications.
- If an app wants more information or access than you are comfortable with, don’t download it. It’s good to question why an app needs access to certain information if it’s unclear why.
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