The finding was revealed in a series of tweets by ESET security researcher Lukas Stefanko. IT was revealed that the combined download of all these apps crossed 5.6 lakh Android devices. The researcher claims that nearly all these Android users are now at a risk of exposing sensitive data stored on their devices.
These apps have no legitimate application on any handset. Lukas Stefanko has also revealed the details of these 13 malicious apps discovered on Google Play Store in a series of tweets. Most of the apps were disguised as games but they didn’t carry any functionality.
Even after installing the apps, they would crash every time you try to launch them. These apps include a luxury car driving simulator, and thumbnail images that show graphics that make them seem legitimate. According to the security researcher, the apps would ask to install an additional APK.
Here’s the list of apps that were removed:
– Truck Cargo Simulator
– Extreme Car Driving
– City Traffic Moto Racing
– Moto Cross Extreme
– Hyber Car Driving
– Extreme Car Driving 2
– Car Driving Simulator
– Extreme Sport Car
– SUV 4×4 Driving Simulator
– Luxury Car Parking
– Luxury Car SUV Simulator
– SUV City Climb Parking
According to Stefanko, two of the apps were also listed under Play Store’s trending section. Another interesting fact is that all the 13 apps were developed by a single developer – Luiz O Pinto. Once the apps are installed, they will require users to install a third-party app called ‘Game Center’. Once this is launched, the app will hide itself and display advertisements when the device is unlocked.
The researcher has posted a video demonstrating how these apps work. This is not the first time Android apps were found with serious malware. Even last year, an adware called Judy was found in 41 Android apps, which affected 8.5 million to 36.5 million Android devices. Google is taking proactive efforts in removing malicious apps from Play Store. In January, Google removed 7 lakh malicious apps from its app store.