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 4×4 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.
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.