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Security & privacy

Delete this productivity app NOW

Like millions of other Americans, you probably made a few resolutions entering the new year. If you want to start 2023 right, include better cybersecurity on your to-do list.

Start by deleting these five redundant apps from your smartphone. That’s just the beginning. A productivity app that made its way to an official app store was recently caught hiding malware. It’s designed to steal banking credentials to rip you off. If you have it on your device, remove it ASAP!

Read on for details on this sneaky app and a few ways to stay protected.

Here’s the backstory

Some people look to productivity apps to simplify their lives. They can make it easier to stay on top of essential tasks in your life. The problem is productivity apps are primary targets for cybercriminals as they use them to spread malware.

That’s precisely what happened with a recently discovered malicious app that was available on the Google Play Store. Researchers with the Zscaler ThreatLabz team found a productivity app called Todo: Day Manager was spreading the Xenomorph banking Trojan.

Once downloaded, the app asks for access permissions, one of which adds itself as an administrator. This prevents you from disabling Device Admin on the phone. With elevated privileges, the app has complete control over your data.

Not only does the banking Trojan steal financial account credentials, but it can also intercept text messages. That means criminals have access to two-factor authentication (2FA) codes for the accounts you have enabled 2FA.

What you can do about it

The best defense against malicious apps is to only download applications from official app stores and never from third-party libraries, as they often contain viruses. Third-party app stores don’t have the security protocols you’ll find with Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

This malicious app was in the Google Play Store, but it’s not the norm. If you installed the Todo: Day Manager app on your Android device, delete it immediately!

Here’s how to delete any app from your Android phone:

  • Open the Google Play Store app.
  • At the top right, tap the Profile icon.
  • Tap Manage apps & devices > Manage.
  • Then, tap the name of the app you want to delete.
  • Tap Uninstall.

A great way to stay safe is to look at the comments and reviews before downloading an app. If an app is hiding malware, there’s a good chance other users will report it and make a note in the comments. If something feels off, do not download the app.

Another thing to do is to pay attention to access permissions when installing an app. Ensure that the permissions align with what the app is supposed to do, and don’t allow permissions that aren’t necessary. For example, there is no reason a calculator app would need to access your location.

There are a few more ways to protect against malicious apps. Here are some suggestions:

  • Turn on Google Play Protect by heading to Google Play Store > Profile > Play Protect > Settings and turn on Scan apps with Play Protect.
  • Check your phone for security updates by going to Settings > System > System update.
  • Watch out for apps that use a similar logo to other popular apps or have similar functions. Similar logos could mean the app is spoofing a legitimate program and is designed to spread malware.
  • Pay attention to permissions. Stay away if an app wants full access to your text messages or notifications. 
  • Have trustworthy antivirus software on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Right now, get an annual plan of TotalAV Internet Security for only $19 at ProtectWithKim.com. That’s over 85% off the regular price!

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