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Google Bans Apps That Secretly Download Malware onto Android

Even popular apps can download malware onto your phone. Google recently banned 13 highly-rated apps that were part of a malware family doing exactly that.

You already know that malware is getting smarter every day. A somewhat common scenario is users downloading what looks like innocuous apps that then download malware. Recently, Google banned 13 apps available in the Google Play Store that were downloading malware onto a user’s phone. These weren’t obscure apps that users rarely found, but instead were well-reviewed and had been downloaded tens of thousands of times.

Malware itself was what made these apps rank so highly in the store. This is how it worked. First, when a user downloaded what looked to be an innocent app, that app then downloaded a hidden malicious app onto the phone. This secondary download then boosted the download ranking of that app in the Google Play Store. Some of the apps even had the capacity to leave positive rankings on the malicious app’s page without the user’s knowledge.

Read More: New Android Malware Mimics Common Apps

Some of the apps burrowed even further into the user’s device. These apps sought root privileges, or the ability to remain downloaded on the phone even if the user reset the phone to factory settings. By installing several files to the system, some of these apps could hang on even if the phone was completely rebooted.

This removal of apps from such a prominent marketplace was the first of its kind. While other app families also work to achieve root privileges, they were found on third-party Android marketplaces, not something as widely used as Google Play.

Here’s a list of the malicious apps:

  • Cake Blast
  • Cake Tower
  • Tiny Puzzle
  • Ninja Hook
  • Jump Planet
  • Drag Box
  • Honey Comb
  • Piggy Jump
  • Hit Planet
  • Crazy Block
  • Eat Bubble
  • Crazy Jelly
  • Just Fire

If you’re worried that you’ve downloaded a suspicious app, you’ll want to remove it immediately. To remove, you need to install an antivirus software like PSafe Total to look for any suspect files you don’t recognize.

Don’t let any malicious apps take hold of your phone. No matter how secure you think an app is, you still need added protection when downloading anything. PSafe Total is your best protection in that wild Google Play marketplace. With an award-winning antivirus feature, PSafe Total regularly scans your phone’s files and SD card to make sure that nothing fishy has made its way onto your phone.