103 Devious Apps with 69 Million Installs, Beware Android Users

We often hear that to be safe online, don’t download apps from an untrusted source. Use the google play store as your primary source for getting genuine apps. But are all the apps on the play store safe? What if hackers have managed to infiltrate the impregnable google fort? What if they have found a way to bypass the security check and steal our data? It might sound frightening but that’s the harsh reality. According to research carried out by CyberNews, there are more than 100 apps listed on play store with more than 69 million downloads which are using unfair means to collect user data. This means that data of these 69 million users are at direct risk of being stolen and being misused.

Which apps are malicious?

According to the research, 103 such apps are created by a “secret network” of 20+ developers operating allegedly from China. These apps are not just stealing your precious data, but also bombarding you with malicious ads and using your online presence to spy on you. These apps have one thing in common. Mostly all of them were cloned from a much popular app that offers the same functionality. According to the report, these clone apps use most of the code as their counterpart but with very minor tweaks that allow them to bypass the play store security.

List of some of the devious app :

2NAD App developerApp name
Daniel MalleyGlitch Effect Video, Photo Editor Grainy Effect
Daniel MalleyMod for Minecraft, Mods For Minecraft Animals 2019
Daniel MalleyVoice Changer, Voice Recorder Editor With Effects
Daniel MalleySketch Photo Editor And Pencil Sketch Art
Daniel MalleyHoroscope 2019 With 12 Zodiac Sign Master
Alex JoeFace Makeup Camera & Beauty Photo Makeup Editor
Arrow FrankieVideo Editor With Music App, Video Maker Of Photo
Arrow FrankieCall Recorder Automatic, Call Recording 2 Ways
Rusty MariScreen Recorder With Facecam & Audio, Video Editor
Rusty MariNucie Cam: Beauty Selfie Camera With Photo Editor
Weldon HazeltinePDF Scanner Camera Scanner: JPG To PDF Converter
Weldon HazeltineApp Locker Fingerprint, PIN And Gallery Locker
Weldon HazeltinePhoto Collage Maker And Picture Grid Art Frame
Weldon HazeltineMetronome And Tuner For Instrument
Weldon HazeltineRelax Sound Sleep Music And Soothing Sounds
Jacinto MaciasCut And Paste Photo Editor With Background Eraser
Jacinto MaciasScreen Recorder With Audio And Facecam, Screenshot
Jacinto MaciasApp Locker With Password Fingerprint, Lock Gallery
Jacinto MaciasVideo Maker With Music Photos, Video Effects App
Jacinto MaciasPhoto Collage Maker And Picture Grid, Photo Layout
Jacinto MaciasVideo Editor, Video Maker With Music Photos & Text
Flavia SleemanVideo Editor With Music And Effects & Video Maker
Flavia SleemanCut And Paste Photo Editor To Change Background
Flavia SleemanScreen Recorder, Game Recorder With Facecam, Audio
Flavia SleemanJPG To PDF Converter With Camera Scanner To PDF
Flavia SleemanBubble Level Ruler With Inclinometer Free
Douglas MoraceRAR File Extractor And ZIP Opener, ZIP RAR Creator
Douglas MoraceAutomatic Call Recorder Incoming And Outgoing App
Douglas MoraceApp Locker With Password, Photo Gallery Locker
Douglas MoraceColor Call Screen Themes With Flash On Call
Dulcie LawingGlitch Effect Video Editor And Vhs Effect Photo

What information do they collect?

They are collecting tons of information about you, which has nothing to do with the app. They are collection info regarding “ data stored within your device and other information you transmit or receive using the Application, your geographic area information using GPS, email addresses, unique device identifier, billing or shipping information”. The twist here is that they get all the information because you gave them the consent, of course unknowingly. But it is unethical for an app to collect all this information if the app has no use of it.

Android 832107

Is Google aware?

Yes, google lately is taking such reports very seriously. Out of these 103 apps, 59 has already been removed while others remaining still under inspection. Google also recently red-flagged quite a few chrome web extensions that were stealing crypto-currencies data. These extensions were mimicking popular cryptocurrency wallets and were stealing crypto-wallet private keys, mnemonic phrases, and other raw secrets.

play store

How to protect it?

First of all, if you have any of the 103 mentioned apps, delete them immediately (list attached above). Secondly, though the play store has seen some a surge in malicious apps, it is still the best source to download apps. Google has been quick in red-flagging such apps and updating its policies. Downloading apps from an unknown source is a big No No. And lastly, don’t trust the apps blindly. Stay aware, look for what all information app is asking for. And assess whether that particular app needs such permission. For instance, there is no reason for a calculator app to have access to your camera. The cyber-world is filled with notorious bullies. It only takes a few unguarded steps to fall prey to them.

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Nitin Gupta
Nitin Gupta
Nitin is a software engineer from Gurugram, Haryana. He is an avid reader, a tech-savvy and a sports enthusiast. He is quite versatile and loves to try his hands in every different field. Surely a fun person to hang out with!

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