The apps literally disguised themselves.
A Russian security services firm said on Tuesday that 28 apps containing malware had been downloaded nearly 10 million times from the Google Play Store.
Dr. Web, founded in 2003, said in its monthly threat report that adware trojans were included in Android apps like photo editing software, keyboard and utility apps, wallpaper collection apps and more.
Many hid in plain sight by changing their app icons to mimic an important system app in the hopes users wouldn’t delete them. From the shadows, they were likely subscribing people to paid mobile services without permission and constantly displaying ads to make money.
Rules and Regulations
Although Google says it checks apps for malware before they hit the Play Store, some are clearly slipping through the cracks. Even worse, those that have been taken down stay on a user’s phone until they’re manually deleted.
Repeated issues like this may poke holes in pending legislation like the Open App Markets Act, which would force phone manufacturers like Apple and Android to allow “side loading” apps. Side loading lets users download apps from outside official app stores.
Yesterday, 9to5Mac reported that Apple sent a letter to Congress blasting side loading because of how much malware Android users suffer. The company claimed Android ecosystems have 50 times more than iOS. Dr.
Preventing software monopolies is one thing, but side loading could hurt more than help. As for preventing future infections, that’s up to users for now. One Twitter netizen it up simply earlier today.
“Stop downloading random apps,” the commenter said.
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