Google boasts of strong security regulations for its Play Store, promising safe downloads for users and strict action against malicious apps. But, with millions of applications hosted on the store front, there is also a considerable amount of malicious content that can harm Android users. Now, leading cyber security and anti-virus firm Kaspersky has claimed that Android users downloaded malware from Google’s Play Store more than 600 million times in 2023. These infected apps include mini-game advertisements that collect user data, Minecraft clones, APs that promise monetary rewards. even more.
according to a report Compiled by Kaspersky, citing various other reports and sources, malicious developers have found new ways to bypass Google’s security checks to get their apps listed on the Play Store. The firm found a variety of infected content and applications downloaded through the storefront, which pose a serious security threat to Android users. The biggest defaulters turned out to be suspicious apps with in-app mini-game ads, which collected data, with over 451 million downloads. According to the report, a malware called SpinOK was found infecting more than 100 apps on the Store this year, posing as in-app mini games promising monetary rewards while collecting user data.
The report also noted more than 100 million downloads for apps infected with hidden ads and more than 35 million downloads for ad-laden clones of the popular game Minecraft. Thirty-eight Minecraft clones with hidden adware were found on the Play Store this year, the report said. Mojang’s Minecraft, a sandbox-style survival game, has over 50 million downloads play store And thus it is a prime target for bad actors.
Additionally, suspicious apps promising monetary rewards also achieved 20 million downloads. These primarily include apps posing as health and activity trackers that promise attractive rewards for meeting physical activity goals. The report also mentioned more than 40 apps infected with background adware, which were downloaded 2.5 million times.
Two file manager apps with a total of 1.5 million downloads were also found to be collecting user data, despite claiming that they do not. These spyware apps were reportedly sending key user data like contacts, location, photos, audio, video and more to servers in China.
Kaspersky experts found Play Store apps infected with the FlexPay subscription trojan. When downloaded and run, these apps will install a malicious payload on the user’s smartphone that will collect country and cellular operator information. The malware then opened web pages containing paid subscriptions in the browser and maliciously subscribed the user to the services.
The report also mentions 50,000 downloads of the iRecorder screen recording app for Android. The app, which was uploaded to the Play Store in 2021, comes with a malicious code that makes the app record sound from the smartphone’s microphone every 15 minutes and send it to the developers’ servers.
Earlier this year, Kaspersky found a cybersecurity threat that targeted iPhone users through a malicious iMessage attachment. The threat did not require users to do anything and used an iOS vulnerability to install a spyware that took complete control of the device and user data.
(TagstoTranslate)Google Play Store Malware Malicious App Downloads 600 Million 2023 Kaspersky Report Google(T)Google Play(T)Play Store(T)Malware(T)Apps(T)Android(T)Kaspersky