Last month, cybersecurity experts detected adware and data-stealing spyware in the Google Play Store, with at least 5 still available and over two million downloads. Adware infestations can harm the user experience by showing unwanted adverts that can be particularly invasive, draining the battery, generating heat, and even causing unauthorized charges.
This software tries to blend in by posing as something else on the host device, and it earns money for remote operators by pushing the victim to view or click on connected adverts. On the other hand, information-stealing Trojans are considerably more sinister, taking login credentials for other sites you visit, such as social networking and online banking.
According to Dr. Web antivirus analysts, adware applications and data-stealing Trojans were among the most common Android dangers in May 2022. Spyware applications that collect information from other apps’ alerts are at the top of the list, mostly to obtain one-time 2FA passcodes (OTP) and take over accounts.
The following 5 threats are still there among the many that have managed to penetrate the Google Play Store:
- PIP Pic Camera Photo Editor – 1 million downloads – malware that masquerades as image-editing software but collects users’ Facebook login details.
- Wild & Exotic Animal Wallpaper – 500,000 downloads – an adware trojan that changes its icon and name to “SIM Tool Kit” and inserts itself into the list of battery-saving exceptions.
- ZodiHoroscope – Fortune Finder – 500,000 downloads – malware that tricks users into entering their Facebook account information to eliminate in-app advertisements.
- PIP Camera 2022 – 50,000 downloads – camera effects app that also acts as a Facebook account hijacker.
- Magnifier Flashlight – 10,000 downloads – adware application that serves videos and static banner advertisements.
Google has been contacted and informed about the above applications. It’s also requested to confirm if the previous versions have been cleansed and resubmitted or if they’re still as dangerous as Dr. Web’s report claims. However, based on current user reviews, these applications continue to show risky behavior and fail to deliver on their feature promises.
A racing game, a deleted picture recovery tool, a false state compensation app targeting Russian users, and a “free access” application for the Only Fans platform were among the apps discovered in the Play Store by Dr. Web’s antivirus team in May 2022. These apps have now been withdrawn from the Play Store, but users who have them installed on their smartphones should uninstall them and conduct a complete antivirus check to eliminate any leftovers.