Published: Sat, June 29, 2019
Tech | By Constance Martin

Google Play Store has over 2,000 malware-laden, fake apps

Google Play Store has over 2,000 malware-laden, fake apps

A study has revealed that 2,040 apps listed on Google Play are counterfeit and pose a serious threat to millions of Android apps users' privacy and personal data.

A few weeks ago, we reported over 230 Android apps that could be harmful to your phone and seems like those issues aren't going anywhere anytime soon as the Google Play store security concerns worsen with a recent study showing over 2,040 copycat apps that could be risky to your phone as well.

Since completion of the study, as many as 35-percent of the problem apps and potential problem apps are are no longer available in the Google Play Store.

Counterfeit or "fake" apps are often used by hackers to steal user data or infect a device with malware. The report also adds that popular games such as Temple Run, Hill Climb Racing, and Free Flow are the most commonly copied games.

As expected, the top hundred publishers on Apple App Store made 64 percent more than the publishers on Google Play Store.

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Luckily, I have a screenshot of the new share button sitting comfortably beside the microphone button on the Google Search app for Android. Counterfeit or fake apps impersonate popular applications in a bid to misguide users.

Co-author of the study, Dr Suranga Seneviratne, a Computer Science academic and cybersecurity expert, explained: "Many fake apps appear innocent and legitimate - smartphone users can easily fall victim to app impersonations and even a tech-savvy user may struggle to detect them before installation". Before Google updated the page, there was no policy specifically related to marijuana apps. The study found more than 1,500 malicious apps asking for at least 5 unnecessary permissions than the original developer of the app, plus, over 1400 bad apps featuring around 5 extra third-party ad/banners.

On the other hand, Google claims that the process of identifying malicious apps have become more stringent now.

"We also find 1,565 potential counterfeits asking for at least five additional unsafe permissions than the original app and 1,407 potential counterfeits having at least five extra third-party advertisement libraries", reads the paper. Similarly, the company has started to monitor app submission, were, the app rejection rate has increased 55% in the past year and the app suspension rate has also increased by 66%.

According to NeoWin, the researchers used neural networks and VirusTotal malware checks to screen the entire app store for suspicious markers.

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