A top security group has issued a warning to smartphone users running Android over multiple apps that were available on the Google Play Store.
Dr. Web listed over 30 mobile apps that were identified to contain trojans, spyware, adware and other security problems.
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The apps related to theme customizations, photo editors and apps that changed the phone’s wallpaper. Alarmingly, an emoji keyboard that had racked up millions of downloads and a note-taking app were found to contain malware.
When the apps were installed, Dr. Web found them to display intrusive advertising within both the apps and notification bar, log identifying information on the user and device, download additional software and even target WhatsApp private messages.
It is also revealed that some of these malicious apps were found to be taking photos and videos without the user’s knowledge, as well as read text messages, track the location of a device, turn on the microphone, read the browser history, and log keystrokes to reveal passwords and other sensitive user information.
‘Hint – Photo Editor’ was found to redirect a user to a fake Facebook login screen which would intercept personal information.
Google has removed most of the affected apps after Dr. Web alerted the tech giant to the issues, however, these apps can still remain on a smartphone even after they are taken off the Google Play Store.
Dr. Web is advising users to check their smartphones for any of these apps, uninstalling and then changing login information to things like banking, streaming and social media accounts. It’s also recommended to run a virus scan from a trusted brand such as Norton.
Malicious apps on Google Play Store
- Photo Editor: Retouch & Cutout (from.nineergysh.quickarttwo)
- Photo Editor: Art Filters (gb.painnt.moonlightingnine)
- Photo Editor & Background Eraser (from.photoground.twentysixshot)
- Photo & Exif Editor (from.xnano.photoexifeditornine)
- Photo Editor – Filter Effects (from.hitopgop.sixtyeightgx)
- Emoji Keyboard: Stickers & GIFs (gb.crazykey.sevenboard)
- Neon Theme – Android Keyboard (com.androidneonkeyboard.app)
- fancy charging (com.fancyanimatedbattery.app)
- FastCleaner: Cash Cleaner (com.fastcleanercashecleaner.app)
- Call Skins – Caller Themes (com.rockskinthemes.app)
- funny caller (com.funnycallercustomtheme.app)