13 malware gaming apps on Play Store installed by half a million users

13 malware infected gaming apps on Play Store installed by half a million users
Google Play Shop smartphone

Android is one of the most used mobile operating systems in the world and that makes it a lucrative target for malicious hackers. Recently, ESET’s IT security researcher Lukas Stefanko identified the presence of a malware in 13 driving gaming apps on none other than Google Play Store.

What’s worse is that these apps were installed by more than half a million users (560,000 users). According to a series of tweets from Stefanko, these apps were developed by Luiz O Pinto and upon installing, they would hide their icons to trick users into installing another app that wasn’t even a gaming app and made the targeted device slow.

Lately, cryptocurrency mining malware have been found slowing smartphones to mine coins with the help of their computing power. In this case, Stefanko could not confirm what type of malware was being distributed and believes that it could have been an adware malware bombarding devices with ads to generate illegal ad revenue at the expense of the innocent and unsuspecting Android users.

A look at VirusTotal results shows that at least fifteen top anti-virus scanners have found Android trojan in these apps. According to Kaspersky scan result, the trojan is called “HEUR:Trojan.AndroidOS.Piom.yqm” which uses advertising as its main monetization method.

“The malware uses different methods to display as many ads as possible to the user, including by installing new adware. These Trojans can get root privileges in order to hide in the system folder, which makes the Trojans very difficult to remove,” noted Kaspersky’s threat report.

Screenshot of 13 malware-infected apps (Image credit: Lukas Stefanko’s Twitter)

The good news is that Stefanko remorted these malicious apps to Google on Monday which were then removed from the Android marketplace. The bad news is that Google has yet again failed to protect its users from malware attacks and since IT security community warns users of downloading apps from third-party stores it is time to be advised while downloading any app from Google Play Store.

If you are about to download an Android app make sure to go through its reviews as most of the times users who have already installed the app provide their feedback about its performance. Also, keep your device updated and scan it on regular basis with an anti-malware. Here is a list of 10 powerful antiviruses for Windows, Mac, Android, and iPhone devices. Stay safe online.

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