Published: Sun, November 25, 2018
Tech | By Anita Cain

Driving apps pulled from Google Play Store for installing malware

Driving apps pulled from Google Play Store for installing malware

Malware is familiarly spread through fake apps; however according to one security researcher, he has known of over one half million end-users who downloaded rogue apps that pretended to be driving games while contained in Google's Play Store.

The games were all driving simulators with one of them, called the Truck Cargo Simulator, being the number two game in the trending section of the Play Store. Several of the games even started trending on the store, helping to fuel additional downloads. Microsoft's latest 5.1 version of the Launcher also consists of Sticky Notes and To-Do integrations, enabling users to sync their notes and tasks from these apps. Additionally, the icons for the apps would disappear.

The apps were all developed by Luiz O Pinto, although whether this is a real name or an alias is unclear. The functionality of the malicious apps has not yet been revealed.

It isn't still clear about the precise function of the rogue applications; VirusTotal's different malware scanners seemingly do not have a common opinion about the malware's actual function. In addition, the malware contained within the apps could give itself access to a device's network traffic, potentially allowing the developer to steal personal data. Firstly, it says that the App Store has too many apps with similar behaviour. "Most likely very unsafe".

Digital Wellbeing app, which Google unveiled under the Digital Wellbeing initiative back in May to help users curb their device addiction, is now out of beta.

"Many times it would be simply enough to scan apps with antivirus software before uploading them on to Google Play", he told Forbes.

Google has confirmed that all 13 apps had been removed from the store since Stefanko announced the discovery via Twitter. Alternatively, they could use an antivirus program to delete it, Stefanko said.

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