Half A Million Android Users Downloaded Dangerous Malware From Google’s Play Store

Bad news for Android users as more than half a million people have installed Android malware that was posing as driving games, from Google’s own app store.

ESET’s Lukas Stefanko tweeted details on what had happened which involved 13 gaming apps that were built by the same developer. At the time of his tweet, these were downloadable from Google Play.

Two of the apps were even trending on the store, and this means that they were enjoying great visibility among users.

More than 580,000 installs 

These apps surpassed more than 580,000 installs just before Google took care of the problem. Users who have been downloading the apps were expecting to see a truck/car driving game but what they got instead was a buggy app that crashed every time it was opened.

Tech Crunch explains that in reality, the app was having its own hidden agenda: “it was downloading a payload from another domain — registered to an app developer in Istanbul — and installed malware behind the scenes, deleting the app’s icon in the process.”

It was not very clear what the malicious apps do, and none of the malware scanners agreed on this. The malware was very persuasive, and it was launching every time the Android phone or tablet started up. It also had full access to its network traffic which the author of the malware can use in order to steal secrets.

Google spokesperson Scott Westover confirmed that the apps “violated our policies and had been removed from the Play Store.”

Another security issue with Google

This is another security issue that Google has to deal with. The tech giant has been faced with tons of criticism for its approach to app and mobile security compared to Apple.

Some have been slamming Apple saying that it’s too restrictive and selective about which apps make it into its store. But “better safe than sorry” seems to work in this case more than ever.

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