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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

Google Investigating The Root Cause Of Its Malfunction

ThousandEyes detected intermittent availability issues to Google services from some locations.

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

After several users complained that they were either unable to access Google services like YouTube on Tuesday, the tech giant confirmed the root cause of this was “external” and under investigation.

Internet research firm ThousandEyes, however, claimed that “traffic to certain Google destinations appears to be routed through an ISP in Russia and black-holed at a China Telecom gateway router”.

The disruption in Google services was limited to nearly an hour.

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The YouTube Music app is displayed on a mobile phone in Los Angeles. VOA

“Throughout the duration of this issue Google services were operating as expected and we believe the root cause of the issue was external to Google,” the company said.

“We will conduct an internal investigation of this issue and make appropriate improvements to our systems to help prevent or minimize future recurrence.”

According to media reports, G Suite applications like Gmail and Google Drive were not impacted.

Google described the issue as “Google Cloud IP addresses being erroneously advertised by internet service providers other than Google”.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

ThousandEyes named China Telecom, Nigerian-provider MainOne and Russian network operator TransTelekom behind this incident.

Also Read: Social Media Laws Should Be Tightened: Germany

“Potential hijack underway. ThousandEyes detected intermittent availability issues to Google services from some locations. Traffic to certain Google destinations appears to be routed through an ISP in Russia & black-holed at a China Telecom gateway router,” ThousandEyes tweeted.

Google told the Wall Street Journal that users’ data was not compromised, adding that “and that the company has no reason to believe that the incident was malicious”. (IANS)