Over 100,000 Android users installed this password stealing app from the Play Store; delete it now!

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Over 100,000 Android users installed this password stealing app from the Play Store; delete it now!
Security researchers have stumbled upon an app that Google has removed from the Google Play Store after it was downloaded over 100,000 times. What makes this app so deadly is its ability to collect personal data from smartphone users' Facebook accounts. French mobile security firm Pradeo (via ZDNet) says that this app uses malware called "Facestealer,"

"Facestealer" is a so-called Android trojan that earns that name because it tricks Facebook users into typing all of their credentials onto a web page. This personal information is then sent to a server registered in Russia that belongs to the attacker. When an Android user adds his Facebook credentials to the website, the developers of the now removed app have access to the Facebook subscriber's credit card data, search information, and more.

The trojan was embedded inside an app on the Google Play Store that was named Craftsart Cartoon Photo Tools and was supposed to help edit photographs. Pradeo says that the app contained some code that allowed it to slip past Google's Play Store defenses and was used for more than seven years while connected to other malicious apps in the Android app storefront.

When the app is opened by unsuspecting users, a Facebook login page appears requesting that the user sign in with his/her Facebook username and password. According to Pradeo, "Facebook credentials are used by cybercriminals to compromise accounts in multiple ways, the most common being to commit financial fraud, send phishing links and spread fake news."

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If you're a loyal PhoneArena reader, you know that the first thing we suggest that someone look at before installing an app from an unknown developer is the comments and reviews section of the listing. Comments about seeing too many ads or other issues combined with low review scores usually indicate the presence of malware.

Take a look at the comments and reviews left by users of the Craftsart Cartoon Photo Tools app. All of the reviews accompanying this article gave the app just one-star and called the app "Totally Fake," "useless," and "totally untrustworthy." When you see reviews and comments like that, move on to another listing pronto.

Keep in mind that just because Google removed the app from the Play Store it doesn't mean that the app is safe to stay installed on your Android phone. If you did install Craftsart Cartoon Photo Tools, you need to uninstall it immediately to protect your credit card and other financial data.

You might be wondering how Google is supposed to protect Android users from installing malware laden apps from the Play Store on their handsets. The answer is a feature called Google Play Protect which is designed to run a safety scan on all apps before you install them. Google Play Protect is also supposed to check your device for potentially harmful apps from other sources.

The developer of the Craftsart Cartoon Photo Tools app promoted it as an app that would allow "Craftsart Cartoon Photo Tools to 'turn stunning looks from real cameras into paintings and cartoons' using advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning." As interesting as that sounds, the developer's main goal was to separate users from their hard earned money.

If you want to reduce the inherent risks of installing third-party apps on your handset, besides looking at the comments and reviews, another quick and dirty rule is to avoid apps created by a developer you've never heard of before. And remember to always be skeptical. If you come across an app that promises to extend your battery life by several hours, simply follow the immortal words of Dionne Warwick and "Walk on by."

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