Google removes 13 malicious apps from the Play Store that were disguised as games

Google removes 13 malicious apps from the Play Store that were disguised as games
Google has removed 13 games from the Google Play Store after ESET security researcher Lukas Stefanko discovered that the apps were actually installing malware on Android devices. In a tweet he posted over the weekend, Stefanko revealed details about these apps (via Tech Crunch). The 13 had been installed more than 580,000 times, and two of them were trending.

Those installing the apps thought that they were loading car and truck driving games. Instead, the apps crashed every time they were opened. While it isn't clear what evil acts the malware is designed to do, it does launch every time that the host device boots up. The malware has "full access" to a phone or tablet's network traffic, allowing it to steal personal secrets from an Android device.

The games all listed the same developer, Luiz O Pinto, and Stefanko was able to trace the domain that spread the malware to a developer in Istanbul named Mert Ozek. The latter doesn't appear to be responding to requests for comments.

Last year, Google removed 700,000 malicious apps from the Google Play Store. While that sounds good, it would be even better if Google could devise a way to keep malicious apps out of the Play Store in the first place. Until that happens, Android users will probably need to be more suspicious of apps offered from unknown developers.

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9 Comments

1. _deeuk

Posts: 40; Member since: Nov 06, 2018

They should be checked before they are allowed to be put on the playstore in the first place.

4. cmdacos

Posts: 3651; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

All app stores operate in this way

5. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Because it is impossible to stop it. Even with IOS strict app policies they still have apps that introduce malware. Just like Windows has malware too. With so many apps being processed, they dont have the time to dedicate to catching everything. Just like having all the police in the world, will never prevent crimes.

2. Ichimoku

Posts: 84; Member since: Nov 18, 2018

That s**tty little fake developer is making a hardworking developers like trash.

3. dimas

Posts: 3213; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

PA's article made me remember this: 3 years ago these AA guys said that you don't need anti-virus. To think they claim themselves to be "authority". https://www.androidauthority.com/do-you-need-mobile-antivirus-software-663034/

8. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5465; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

And you still don't need it. Like they said on that website: Using trusted sources like Google Play for apps and avoiding shady websites will ensure your odds of running into viruses and other malware stays low So they don't say it's 0, they say it's low. Which it is.

6. obedchuni

Posts: 302; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

At least someone is finding them for the google.

9. Nimbus

Posts: 433; Member since: Apr 02, 2018

For once i thought u were that racist korean boy name Hallyu,Supernova troll accounts but u r another good dude base on ur profile pic.We may need u to teach that guy a lesson if he is ever around here again.

7. worldpeace

Posts: 3028; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I'm not sure why people downloading this "shabby" looking games, especially with those 3/5 stars.. They can get better games like asphalt, traffic rider, and tons of high profile games that can even run on sub $100 devices. (and still looks good on low setting compared to games on above article.)

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