Android users, you need to be careful while downloading random apps from Google Play. This is because apps which have officially entered the store after validation from Google and is now turning rogue. Recently, a popular app called Camscanner was caught for shipping with an advertising library containing a malicious module in a recent version and was removed from Google Play However, developers were quick to respond and the app was relaunched on Google Play very soon after a quick fix. Now, six more apps with malicious intent have been found and Google has removed them recently. These apps have a combined download of 500 million.
Out of the six apps, four are VPN apps–HotSpotVPN, Free VPN Master, Secure VPN and CM Security Applock AntiVirus while the other two are camera apps- Sun Pro Beauty Camera and Funny Sweet Beauty Selfie Camera. If you have any of these apps installed on your Android phone delete them right away.
These four VPN Android apps are made by developers based out of China and are found guilty of pushing countless fraud ads on smartphones. On the other hand, the two camera apps have been downloaded over 1.5 million times from Google Play. Both the apps served pop-up ads to make money. The ads used to continue to run in the background, interrupting users and also drained the battery of the device. Mobile security firm Wandera claimed that both the apps could have had more malicious intent than just serving unwanted ads. Both the apps asked for audio recording permission along with several other permissions.
Recently, cyber security researchers at independent cyber security services firm–CSIS– have uncovered a malware that affects at least 24 Android apps. These Android apps are quite popular with a total of over 4.72 lakh users. These 24 apps were tested positive for a new type of Trojan on Google Play which goes by the name ‘Joker’. “This Trojan silently simulates the interaction with advertisement websites, steals the victim’s SMS messages, the contact list and device info,” according to the researchers.