Trend Micro says that a large number of the download counts originated from Asia—particularly in India.
From time to time, questions tend to get raised about Google’s quality controls for apps that are listed and distributed via the Play Store for Android devices. The latest question comes after security research firm Trend Micro discovered that as many as 29 photo editing apps available for download via the Play Store, were being used to distribute malware as well. Google has since taken these apps down and they are now unavailable for download from the Play Store.
“We discovered several beauty camera apps (detected as AndroidOS_BadCamera.HRX) on Google Play that are capable of accessing remote ad configuration servers that can be used for malicious purposes,” says Trend Micro in an official blog post detailing the issues. The list of offending apps includes Pro Camera Beauty, Emoji Camera, Selfie Camera Pro, Photo Editor, Art Effect, Wallpapers HD and Prizma Photo Effect. On the face of it, none of these apps gave the users any indication about the malicious content and redirects that they were dishing out. Some of these apps would either download a pornographic video player, or redirect the user to phishing websites that would then ask for personal information, such as address and phone numbers.
As with this popular genre of photo editing apps, some of these have already been downloaded millions of times. Trend Micro says that a large number of the download counts originated from Asia—particularly in India. And that is perhaps a bigger issue, because the apps already download would continue to go about their nefarious activities unless the users delete them.
While Google may have checks in place for ensuring some basic quality for what apps developers publish on the Play Store, as users, you are still better off checking the quality of the apps that you download by yourself—clearly, malware laden apps do get through that security layer. One way to go about is to read what reviews other users have done for the app you wish to download. Secondly, don’t download unnecessary third party apps, if you already get that functionality from a built-in app in your phone or from a trusted third party app.
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