Stay safe from harmful apps: Almost 100 malware-infected apps found on Play Store

What steps can you take to protect your Android devices right now?


In the fast-changing world of technology, where our daily lives are increasingly influenced by digital advancements, protecting our gadgets from harmful software is crucial. Recently, around 100 harmful apps were found on the Google Play Store, collectively downloaded 5.5 million times, highlighting the ongoing danger from online attackers.

As reported by BleepingComputer, cybersecurity firm Zscaler’s startling discovery emphasizes the critical need for heightened awareness and strong security measures. This article explores the details of these harmful apps, their operating methods, and practical steps to protect your Android devices from potential threats.

Recognizing the Risk: Malicious Apps on Google Play Store

The Google Play Store, typically a reliable source for Android apps, has unintentionally become a channel for malware. Despite rigorous security measures, cybercriminals have found clever ways to circumvent these protections, resulting in the entry of malicious apps.

Zscaler’s report identifies over 90 such apps, disguised as productivity tools, personalization apps, health and fitness utilities, and more. Although the firm has not yet released the full list, it has highlighted two especially dangerous apps:

  • PDF Reader & File Manager by TSARKA.
  • QR Reader & File Manager by risovanul.

Take prompt action: Remove these applications immediately

The apps PDF Reader & File Manager and QR Reader & File Manager have been taken down from the Google Play Store. However, if you still have them installed on your device, it’s crucial to delete them right away.

Certain apps, initially appearing harmless when downloaded, secretly transform into malware droppers. These apps later establish connections with servers controlled by hackers, allowing the download of malicious software, potentially harming devices and compromising user data.

These apps have been associated with the Anatsa banking trojan, a well-known and dangerous Android malware that targets sensitive financial information. This malware has been found to affect over 650 banking apps worldwide, putting users’ financial credentials at risk.

Uncovering the Tactics of Malware Droppers

Fake apps in the Play Store trick users into downloading malware droppers, which initially appear clean but later connect to a remote server to install harmful software. This clever tactic evades Google’s security scans, allowing the malware to fly under the radar until it’s too late.

The Anatsa trojan, spread through these apps, uses advanced techniques like overlay attacks to steal sensitive banking information and make unauthorized transactions straight from the infected device.

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Shield Your Device: Essential Security Tips

The cybersecurity landscape is constantly changing, making it essential to be proactive in safeguarding your Android devices. Implement these practical security tips to stay protected:

Limit app installations

Practice app discretion. Only install essential apps and avoid unnecessary downloads. Keep in mind that even apps that look legitimate can contain malware, so be cautious and carefully evaluate each app before installation.

Verify App Creators and Check Feedback

When downloading apps, prioritize those from reputable developers with a history of creating secure software. While app ratings and reviews can be helpful, be cautious of fake reviews. Instead, consider video reviews, which can offer a more trustworthy evaluation of an app’s safety and performance. By being selective and doing your research, you can significantly reduce the risk of downloading malicious apps and protect your device from potential threats.

Enable Google Play Protect

Ensure that Google Play Protect is activated on your device. This built-in security feature scans your apps for potential threats and provides alerts about suspicious activity.

Utilize Android antivirus apps

Consider supplementing your device’s security with a reputable antivirus app. These apps offer additional layers of protection, including real-time scanning, VPN services, and password management.

Anticipating further discoveries

While Zscaler’s findings are concerning, they serve as a timely reminder of the ongoing battle against cyber threats. The cybersecurity community continues to monitor and report on such incidents, and it is hoped that the full list of malicious apps will be released soon. In the meantime, maintaining a cautious approach to app downloads and adhering to best security practices remains the best defense.

Frequently Asked Questions

What apps carry malware?
Kaspersky discovers Android subscription malware (May 4, 2023)
  • Beauty Camera Plus.
  • Beauty Photo Camera.
  • Beauty Slimming Photo Editor.
  • Fingertip Graffiti.
  • GIF Camera Editor.
  • HD 4K Wallpaper.
  • Impressionism Pro Camera.
  • Microclip Video Editor.

What to Do if You Think an App is Harmful? Remove Suspicious Apps Right Away! If you suspect an app is malicious, delete it instantly. Then, use Google Play Protect or a trusted antivirus app to run a security scan and detect any remaining threats.

Can Paid Apps Be Harmful Too? Yes, even paid apps can pose a risk. While they’re often considered more trustworthy, it’s essential to verify the developer’s credibility and read reviews from trusted sources before buying. Don’t assume a paid app is automatically safe – always do your due diligence to protect your device.

What are Overlay Attacks? Overlay attacks are a type of cyber scam where fake login screens are created to look like real banking apps. When users enter their login credentials, the attackers steal the information, allowing them to gain unauthorized access to accounts and sensitive data.

Is Google Play Protect Enough for Security? While Google Play Protect is a vital security feature, it’s not a standalone solution. For optimal protection, consider combining it with additional security measures like antivirus apps to ensure comprehensive coverage and safeguard your device from various threats.

What is the Anatsa Banking Trojan? The Anatsa banking trojan is a malicious software designed to target banking applications, aiming to pilfer sensitive financial information and conduct fraudulent transactions without users’ knowledge or consent.



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