MALWARE ALERT: 13 Malicious Apps Pulled From Google Play Store

Image: Supplied

Google removed 13 apps from the Google Play store this weekend that were infected with malware. Worryingly, more than 560,000 people are thought to have downloaded the apps before they were removed. Here's the full list.

All 13 malicious apps were disguised as car racing games. When you tried to launch the game, it would crash, but would still install malware on your device. Impacted users might just think there’s something wrong with their phone and not realise that the app is malicious, NDTV reports.

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Unlike some other malware attempts, these apps were also popular. More than 560,000 people reportedly downloaded them before they were taken out of the store, and two of the apps even made it to Google Play’s “trending” section before they were pulled, likely adding even more downloads. Here’s the full list:

    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 4x4 Driving Simulator

    Firefighter - Fire Truck Simulator

    Luxury Car Parking

All of them were added to the store by the same developer, Luiz O. Pinto.

When a user installed the app, the app’s icon would hide itself and users would be asked to install an additional ‘Game Center’ APK that had no functionality. You can see videos of what the apps would do here.

Image: Twitter / @LukasStefanko

If you did download one of the malicious apps, you’ll want to get it removed from your phone immediately.

To remove the app, launch your phone in safe mode (you get to that by pressing and holding down the power button) or put it in aeroplane mode to limit what the app is able to do. Next, delete the app from your device.

And finally, go get yourself some malware protection. Avast Security and 360 Security are both good apps to try and will help you find malware left on your phone and protect yourself from future attacks.

And now’s a good time to remind everyone to be careful about what you download. One of the best parts about Google Play is that you can get some pretty great stuff from indie developers. That said, you can also get stuff like this. Be diligent. Read reviews. Don’t ever download something if you’re unsure of the source or what the app might do.


Comments

    The fact that it crashed and then asked users to enable installing from unknown sources prior to trying to download the actual malicious app is a clear red flag....
    Since the main apps didn't actually do anything the 560k downloads were also probably done in a phone farm to artificially boost them into the trending section. Pretty smart actually.

    So the app didn't actually contain malware, it just had a link to it.
    Chrome also has links to malware.

    So to actually install the malware, the user has to go out of their way, turn off security settings and hit "OK" to warnings about what they are doing.

    Don't bog your phone down with stupid anti malware/anti virus software.

    Just don't be an idiot. If you downloaded these apps, nothing to worry about. If you downloaded random apps from the internet that you had no idea about, went into your settings and turned off security settings and ignored the warnings, then yes, you are in trouble.

    Worryingly, the article isn't very clear about what you need to remove. The malware is the game center or whatever the extra game is called. Obviously, get rid of the car one as well as it doesn't actually do anything.

    It's great that as well as games called Extreme Car Driving City and Hyper Car Driving Simulator, there's one called Luxury Car Parking.
    A valet simulator! What fun! Don't scratch the luxury cars, kids.

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