Right now, the Google Play Store is a hotbed for malware. Recent research has discovered that many applications available for download in the store are actually malware or adware in disguise. While Google has removed many malicious apps, we know these five are still available and have collectively surpassed two million downloads:
- PIP Pic Camera Photo Editor – This is malware disguised as a fun photo-editing app to steal your Facebook account credentials. It currently has one million downloads.
- PIP Camera 2022 – Similar to the previous app, this app distracts you with creative camera effects while confiscating your Facebook account. It currently has 50,000 downloads.
- Wild & Exotic Animal Wallpaper – This app lures users by offering free high-quality photos of exotic animals to set as your phone wallpaper and lock screen. In reality, this app is an adware trojan. Once downloaded, it replaces its app icon and changes its name to “SIM Tool Kit,” before adding itself to your battery-saving exceptions list. It currently has 500,000 downloads.
- ZodiHoroscope – Fortune Finder – Astrology is all the rage, so that’s why this malware masks itself as a way to learn more about your zodiac sign and horoscopes. This app tricks you into providing your Facebook account credentials under the guise that it will disable ads in the app. It currently has 500,000 downloads.
- Magnifier Flashlight – Your phone likely already has a flashlight built-in, but if not, this app can be a tempting download. A magnifying glass and flashlight in one, this app is actually adware loaded with video and banner advertisements. It currently has 10,000 downloads.
What Is Adware?
You are probably familiar with malware, but now you may be wondering, what is adware? Adware is a breed of malware that hides on your device to serve you advertisements. Sophisticated adware can even monitor your online activity to target you with specific ads. You will know your device is infected with adware if you are inundated daily with pop-up ads on your screen. While the constant interruption of your user experience is aggravating, adware can also be devastating your device health, causing your device to overheat, drain its battery, and in some cases, allow unauthorized changes.
How Can I Be Sure an App Is Safe?
With every app you download, you are taking a risk. Here are some ways to stay safe in the Play Store:
- Read Reviews: Read app reviews, and specifically, negative ones. Positive reviews can be fake, so you should always look for reviews with fewer than five stars. In the Play Store, you can also sort reviews by your device model to see how the app has affected other users with your device.
- Do Your Own Research: Sometimes, reading reviews is not enough, especially in cases where reviews, or negative reviews, are lacking. Try searching the web for information about the app outside the Play Store.
- Scan Your Device: Make sure you have malware protection installed on your device and scan often. Performing routine scans for malware and viruses is essential for your device’s health.
- Ask the Experts: For more information about app safety, call Uprite Services today at 866-570-3065. We are a managed IT and cybersecurity provider specializing in solutions to streamline your Texas business.