It’s Not a Game: Malicious Apps in Your App Store

Well, actually, it IS a game… sort of.

The bad guys are developing malicious applications with the hopes of making their way into your mobile device’s app store –and sometimes they’re successful. Recently, over 100,000 people* across the globe downloaded applications containing spyware from a reputable app store. According to researchers, this spyware steals personal information like your call logs, contacts, photo and video files, and can even use pop-ups in an attempt to steal your login credentials for accounts like Google and Facebook.

Photo credit:  Shutterstock

The type of malicious apps can vary, but several were gaming apps, including:

  • Luxury Cars SUV Traffic
  • Car Driving Simulator
  • Extreme Car Driving Racing
  • Moto Cross Extreme Racing
  • SUV City Climb Parking
  • Extreme Car Driving City
  • City Traffic Moto Racing
  • Extreme Sport Car Driving
  • Hyper Car Driving Simulator
  • Truck Cargo Simulator
  • SUV 4×4 Driving Simulator
  • Firefighter – Fire Truck Simulator
  • Luxury Car Parking

These were all removed from Google Play back in November. It seems to occur with greater frequency in Google Play, but Apple’s App Store and any other legitimate app store is vulnerable. Some even appeared in Google Play’s “trending” section before they were removed.

Here’s a few tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Do your research. Read app reviews, but make sure they’re not fake or staged! Be wary of applications that don’t have any reviews.
  • Avoid applications that have a low number of downloads.
  • Look for strange logos or spelling errors in the application’s description.
  • Consider investing in cybersecurity protection for your mobile device.
  • When in doubt, avoid downloading questionable applications, and look for a safer alternative.

*According to KnowBe4.com (LifeHacker.com reports 560,000).

Sources:  lifehacker.com and KnowBe4.com