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Fake Anti-virus Apps Spotted on Google Play Store: Report

These applications disguise as “security” or “antivirus” in their name and do nothing related to security

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Google, Play Store, UPI
Google Play Store in India currently supports credit cards, debit cards, net banking and carrier billing via Airtel and Vodafone, Google Play Gift Cards and Google Play Balance, and through other means like Google Rewards. Pixabay

Apps with names like Virus Cleaner and Antivirus security and which appear to be genuine anti-virus (AV) or virus-removal apps have been spotted on Google Play Store and have seen over a lakh downloads already, said a new report by Quick Heal Security Labs on Tuesday.

These AV apps mimic the functionalities of a real AV App and have functions like “scan device for viruses” and the main purpose of these apps is to show advertisements and increase the download count.

“These apps don’t have any AV engines or scan capabilities except a predefined list of Apps marked as malicious or clean. This list appears to be static and we haven’t seen it getting updated during our analysis,” the IT security firm said in a statement.

The fake AV app contains predefined package lists, like whiteList.json with few whitelist package names, blackListPackages.json with few blacklist package names and blackListActivities.json with a list of blacklisted activities.

google
Android users who open the Google Play store after the update will be given the option to install up to five search apps and five browsers, Gennai said. Pixabay

This list is used for actual scanning and to show final scan results. It also contains a list of predefined permissions and uses it to show risks associated with other apps.

It also checks installed package names against the pre-defined static whitelists.

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“These fake AV Apps don’t have any functionalities related to malware scanning or identifying any other security issues. These apps only show a fake virus detection alert to the user and eventually show advertisements,” the firm added.

These applications disguise as “security” or “antivirus” in their name and do nothing related to security. (IANS)

Next Story

WhatsApp Becomes Second Non-Google App To Hit 5bn Installs on Android

Facebook owns four out of the top five most downloaded apps worldwide, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, that does not come as a surprise

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WhatApp
According to Statista, WhatsApp is most popular global mobile messenger app worldwide with approximately 1.6 billion monthly active users, outranking Facebook Messenger at 1.3 billion and WeChat at 1.1 billion users in 2019. Pixabay

Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp for Android has now notched up a staggering five billion downloads, making it only the second non-Google app to achieve this milestone.

As with most Android applications that reach large amounts of installs, this number does not just include downloads from the Play Store, but also pre-installed copies like Samsung and Huawei has bundled the app with some smartphones in the past, AndroidPolice reported.

According to Statista, WhatsApp is most popular global mobile messenger app worldwide with approximately 1.6 billion monthly active users, outranking Facebook Messenger at 1.3 billion and WeChat at 1.1 billion users in 2019. Following Facebook and YouTube, it is the third most popular social network worldwide.

As for the Google Play store, South Korea was the fastest-growing WhatsApp market, with downloads of the mobile messaging app increasing almost 56 percent in 2019.

Additionally, Google for the first time in five years, unseated Facebook as the top publisher of mobile apps.

In the last quarter of 2019, Google amassed close to 850 million downloads compared to Facebook‘s nearly 800 million, analytics firm Sensor Tower revealed recently.

When it comes to overall downloads for the year, however, Google still trails behind Facebook.

While Google raked in nearly 2.3 billion downloads, Facebook gained almost 3 billion downloads over the past 12 months.

WhatsApp
Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp for Android has now notched up a staggering five billion downloads, making it only the second non-Google app to achieve this milestone. Pixabay

Facebook owns four out of the top five most downloaded apps worldwide, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, that does not come as a surprise.

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ByteDance-owned video sharing app TikTok was the world’s second-most downloaded app in 2019. (IANS)