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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)

Next Story

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 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.

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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)