Despite stringent checks, applications that access unauthorized data appear in the app stores from time to time. Google has now banned nine of them from the Play Store. What makes the apps so dangerous is revealed by atechbook.
At first glance, the apps banned from the Play Store are apparently unremarkable applications such as photo apps, horoscope apps or App-Locker. But a closer look by some researchers revealed that they contain dangerous malware. In order for this to become active, the app developers use a nasty trick.
Infected Android apps grab Facebook data
As soon as a user launches one of the infected Android apps, they receive information that the ads can be removed by simply logging into their Facebook profile. The linked Facebook page is indeed genuine, so users hardly suspect anything and fall into the trap. This is because the apps in question are infected with Trojans, which capture the login data and store it on their own servers. This makes it possible for the fraudsters to log into Facebook at any time with the stolen usernames and passwords and cause damage or access other data.
The researchers were able to identify a total of nine infected Android apps. These are:
- PIP Photo (more than 5.8 million downloads)
- Processing Photo (more than 500,000 downloads)
- Rubbish Cleaner (more than 100,000 downloads)
- Inwell Fitness (more than 100,000 downloads).
- Horoscope Daily (more than 100,000 downloads).
- App Lock Keep (more than 50,000 downloads)
- Lockit Master (more than 5000 downloads)
- Horoscope Pi (1000 downloads)
- App Lock Manager (10 downloads)
Especially the photo editing apps “PIP Photo” and “Processing Photo” were often downloaded and installed. This already shows that several million users could potentially be affected by password theft. Even if they have not logged into Facebook via the infected Android apps. This is because the malware can be modified to load the website of another site – real as well as fake sites. Thus, the Trojans could be used to steal logins and passwords from any service.
Google has banned the apps from the Play Store
Google has since banned all nine applications from the Play Store. As the website “Ars Technika” writes, the developers of the infected Android apps are also no longer allowed to submit further applications to the Play Store. However, it is possible for them to log in under a different account and thus be included as a developer again – this costs just 25 US dollars. A gap in the system that unfortunately makes it easy for potential scammers.
Even though the infected Android apps can no longer be found in the Play Store, they are still installed on many smartphones. Users should therefore take action themselves and delete the applications immediately. It is also advisable to check your own Facebook account for irregularities. If you want to be on the safe side, you can also install an anti-virus app from one of the well-known manufacturers and scan your smartphone for malicious software.