Google Play Store’s Malware Grew by 100% in Year 2018

The backdoor apps mostly targeted Android users in Russia, Brazil, Mexico, and Vietnam, Google said

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Previously, if users were not signed into their Google accounts, pre-installed apps on their devices, including the Play Store, were cut off from updates. Pixabay

Covering malware trends in 2018, in its annual Android security report, Google has revealed that malware installed from Google Play grew by a 100 per cent last year.

Click-fraud apps, also called “adware” accounted for 55 per cent of all Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs) installed through the Play Store, followed by trojans at 16 per cent, Google said in its report on Monday.

Click-fraud apps mostly targeted users in the USA, Brazil and Mexico.

Previously, Google treated click-fraud apps as a mere Play Store policy violation. The company contends that if it removed click-fraud stats, it would show PHAs installed from the official store declined by 31 per cent year over year, ZdNet reported.

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The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

In addition, 28 per cent of malware outside the Play Store were backdoors, while 25 per cent were trojans, 22 per cent were hostile downloads and just 13 per cent were accounted for click-fraud apps.

About PHA installs from outside the Play Store, Google claims Android’s Google Play Protect anti-malware system prevented 1.6 billion PHA installation attempts last year and stopped 73 per cent of PHA installs from outside the store, marking a 20 per cent improvement.

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Google attributes the dominance of trojans outside the store to the “Chamois” family of malware, which are often pre-installed on popular Android devices from certain original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

The backdoor apps mostly targeted Android users in Russia, Brazil, Mexico, and Vietnam, Google said. (IANS)