Avoid Downloading These Top Grossing Malicious Apps on Google Play

Haseeb Awan
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February 26, 2023
Modified On
April 13, 2023

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Modified On
April 13, 2023

Android users, beware: Google Play malware is on the rise. As the largest mobile app store in the world, it’s no surprise that Google Play is a prime target for malicious actors. While Google does have some measures in place to protect its users, it’s still possible to get caught by malicious apps. In this article, we’ll discuss what Google Play malware is, how to identify malicious apps, what to do if you’ve downloaded a malicious app, and how to protect yourself from Google Play malware. We’ll also share some tips for avoiding malicious apps, list the top-grossing malicious apps to avoid, and share some tools to help protect you from malicious apps. Finally, we’ll discuss where to go for help if you are a victim of Google Play malware.

Introduction to Google Play Malware

Google Play malware is any malicious software found on the Google Play Store. It can be as harmless as an annoying ad or as severe as ransomware. Malicious actors use various techniques to disguise their malware as legitimate apps, including copycat apps, fake reviews, and misleading descriptions. Google Play malware has become increasingly sophisticated, and it can be difficult for the average user to distinguish a malicious app from a legitimate one.

By Symantec’s 2019 Internet Security Threat Report, Google Play hosted more than 20,000 malicious apps in 2018 alone, up from about 9,500 in 2017. And the situation is only getting worse. Malicious actors constantly seek new ways to disguise their malware as legitimate apps, making it increasingly difficult for users to protect themselves.

How Can Google Play Malware Affect You?

Google Play malware can have a variety of effects on your device. It can steal your personal information, such as banking details, passwords, and other sensitive data. It can also install malicious code onto your device to control it remotely or send spam messages or ads. Malware can also slow down your device or even altogether disable it.

Google Play malware can also generate revenue for malicious actors. Some malicious apps can display ads on your device or even download additional apps without your knowledge. Malicious actors can also use these apps to generate revenue by charging subscription fees or even selling your personal information.

What to Look for When Downloading Apps

When downloading applications from the Google Play Store, it is essential to comprehend the different types of malware that may be present. Be suspicious of apps with a low rating or not from a reputable developer. Also, read the reviews and check the app’s permissions. If the app asks for more permissions than it should, it may be a sign that it is malicious.

Awareness of the different types of malicious apps is also essential. Some malicious apps may steal your data, while others may display ads or download additional apps. Be sure to read the description of the app carefully before downloading it.

Finally, it is essential to be aware of the signs of a malicious app. If the app is slow to load or doesn’t open properly, it may be a sign that it is malicious. Also, be wary of any apps that display ads or ask you to sign up for a subscription.

Tips to Avoid Downloading Malicious Apps

Malicious apps have become an increasingly common issue on the Google Play Store. These dangerous apps can cause issues, from draining your battery to stealing your personal information. It would help if you took a few precautions to protect yourself from malicious apps.

Download Apps Only from Google Play Store: 

The first step and the best way to avoid malicious apps is to download applications from the Google Play Store. While there are some reputable third-party app stores, they are not as secure as Google Play. Since they may have yet to be adequately tested and could contain hidden malware. Sticking to the Google Play Store for your app downloads is always best. 

Read The App Reviews before Installing:

The next step is to pay close attention to the reviews and descriptions of any app you download. Taking the time to read the reviews and descriptions can prevent you from downloading malicious apps. It will help if you also were wary of apps with many negative reviews or reviews from users who seem to be affiliated with the app. It will also show you what the app does and how well it works. It could be an indication that the app is not trustworthy. If you notice anything suspicious, don’t download the app.

Review The Apps Permissions:

To further protect yourself, be aware of the permissions that applications request. If an app asks for more permissions than it needs, it’s likely a malicious app. You should also be aware of apps that seem to be asking for too much personal information. Paying attention to the permissions that apps request can save you from downloading a potentially harmful app. 

Update Your Device:

It is also essential to keep your device updated. Operating system updates often include security patches to help protect your device against malicious apps. Google releases regular security updates for Android, which help protect you from malicious apps. 

Install Antivirus Software:

Finally, consider using an anti-virus or anti-malware program to scan your device for malicious apps and protect your device. These programs can help detect malicious apps and keep your device safe.

Following the tips above, you can protect yourself against malicious applications on the Google Play Store. Only download applications from the Google Play Store, pay close attention to reviews and descriptions, know what permissions an app asks for, and keep your device updated. Additionally, consider using an anti-virus or anti-malware program. With these precautions, you can help keep your device safe from malicious apps.

Top 5 Grossing Malicious Apps to Avoid

Here are some of the top-grossing malicious apps to avoid on Google Play:

Clean Master

This app contains adware, which displays unwanted ads.

Cheetah Mobile

This app had found to be collecting user data without informing or asking for consent.

DU Battery Saver

This app contained malware and other malicious code.

ES File Explorer

This app had found to contain a malicious backdoor that allowed attackers to gain access to user data.

Truecaller

This app had found to be collecting user data without informing or asking for consent.

Tools to Help Protect You from Malicious Apps

You can have many tools to help protect yourself from malicious apps. 

Google Play Protect:

The first is Google Play Protect. This built-in security feature scans the app for malicious code before you download them. It also scans your device for any malicious apps already installed.

Antivirus Software:

Another tool is an anti-virus or anti-malware program. These programs can scan your device for malicious apps and help keep your device secure.

VPN:

Finally, you can use a VPN. A VPN will encrypt your data and help protect you from malicious actors.

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Google Play Protect - What is It, and How Does It Work?

Google Play Protect is a feature of the Google Play Store designed to protect users from malicious apps. Google Play Protect uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect and remove malicious apps from the store. It also scans all apps downloaded from the store to ensure they are safe.

Google Play Protect also provides users with additional protection. It can scan apps that have already been installed on your device and can alert you if they are malicious. It can also alert you if an app tries to access your personal information or send spam messages.

How to Detect Malicious Apps

Fortunately, there are measures you can take to detect malicious apps yourself from Google Play malware. 

Check App’s Review: 

Among the best ways to identify a malicious app is to look at the app’s reviews. If the app has a lot of negative reviews, it’s likely a malicious app. You should also pay close attention to the app’s description. If the app claims to do something it doesn’t, it’s probably malicious.

Check App’s Permissions: 

Another way to identify a malicious app is to look at the app’s permissions. If the app asks for more permissions than it needs, it’s likely a malicious app. For example, if a flashlight app asks permission to access your camera, it’s probably malicious.

Check Suspicious Activity: 

Finally, it would help if you looked for signs of suspicious activity. If you see sudden changes in your device’s performance or battery life, it’s likely a sign of malicious activity. It would assist if you also looked out for unusual pop-ups or notifications. If you discover these signs, it’s time to take action.

What to Do if You’ve Downloaded a Malicious App

Taking the necessary steps as soon as you have identified the malicious app on your device is crucial. Here is what you can do to avoid any further damage:

Uninstall The App:

If you’ve downloaded a malicious app, the first thing you should do is uninstall it. Removing the malware is the best way to protect yourself from further damage.

Scan The Device for Malware:

You should also scan your device for any other malicious apps. You can do this with an anti-virus program or an anti-malware program.

Change The Passwords:

Once you’ve removed the malicious app, you should change all your passwords. If you used the same password for multiple accounts, you should change them all. 

Update The Device’s OS:

You should also update your device’s operating system, as malicious actors often target outdated versions of Android.

Notify Google:

Finally, you should notify Google. Google takes steps to protect its users from malicious apps, and they rely on user reports to identify malicious apps.

Android Security Tips

In addition to using Google Play Protect, there are other measures you can take to protect yourself from malicious apps. One of the most critical steps is only downloading apps from reputable developers. You should also keep your device up to date to patch any security vulnerabilities.

It would help if you also used a strong password for your device and two-factor authentication for any apps or services that support it. Additionally, it is essential to be aware of suspicious links and emails, as they may contain malicious code. Finally, it is crucial to be cautious of the applications you have installed on your device and to uninstall any that you no longer use.

Protecting your mobile app from Google Play malware is essential for keeping your device and data safe. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure that you download safe apps and stay protected from malicious actors.

If you want to stay up-to-date on the latest Google Play malware threats, check out the Google Play Security page. This page provides information on the latest malicious apps and tips to help you stay safe. With Google Play Protect and these security tips, you can ensure you get protected from malicious apps.

Where to Go for Help if You are a Victim of Google Play Malware

If you are a victim of Google Play malware, there are a few places you can go for help. 

Google Support Page:

The first is Google’s support page. Here, you can find helpful information about removing malicious apps and what to do if you’ve been a victim of a malicious app.

Reach Out to The Device’s Manufacturer:

You can also contact your device’s manufacturer for help. Many manufacturers offer support for dealing with malicious apps.

Contact A Security Expert:

Finally, you can contact a security expert for help. Security experts can help you remove the malware and secure your device.

Conclusion

Malware on Google Play is increasing, making it harder for users to stay protected. You can take precautions to safeguard yourself, though. You should only download apps from the Google Play Store, pay close attention to reviews and descriptions, know what permissions an app asks for, keep your device updated, and use an anti-virus or anti-malware program. You should also avoid the top-grossing malicious apps and use tools such as Google Play Protect, anti-virus programs, and VPNs to help protect yourself. Finally, if you are a victim of Google Play malware, there are places you can go for help.

Protecting yourself from Google Play malware is essential for securing your device and data. By following these steps, you can help ensure you don’t become a victim of a malicious app.

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Haseeb Awan
CEO, Efani Secure Mobile

I founded Efani after being Sim Swapped 4 times. I am an experienced CEO with a demonstrated history of working in the crypto and cybersecurity industry. I provide Secure Mobile Service for influential people to protect them against SIM Swaps, eavesdropping, location tracking, and other mobile security threats. I've been covered in New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Hulu, Nasdaq, Netflix, Techcrunch, Coindesk, etc. Contact me at 855-55-EFANI or haseebawan@efani.com for a confidential assessment to see if we're the right fit!

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