Report: Play Store Hosting Over 400 Malicious Apps

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Although Google Play Store has gotten better in dealing with malicious, malware-infected apps in recent years, some still manage to find their way through the inspection process. As it turns out, there's currently over 400 of them hosted by the most popular Android app store on the planet, cyber security firm TrendLabs reports. It's worth pointing out that the company's experts were only looking for very specific apps infected with something they refer to as DressCode malware. Like the name suggests, these are seemingly harmless apps which either hide malicious code or hide code which downloads malicious code. Once installed, these apps are capable of both spying on your activities and forwarding data from protected networks you're connected to.

TrendLabs specifically singled out a malicious app disguised as a Grand Theft Auto V mod for Minecraft: Pocket Edition which was downloaded up to 500,000 times from Google Play Store. Once installed, the said piece of mobile software connects to a server controlled by malevolent developers and can cause all kinds of trouble for your device. More specifically, in addition to sharing data from your device and networks you're connected to, the app can also transform your phone into an entry point which it uses as the basis for an additional attack on some other network. Luckily, Google's representatives have already confirmed they're aware of this latest report, adding that the Play Store team is hard at work verifying reported infections and removing malicious apps.

Earlier this year, a different cybersecurity firm reported that it has identified approximately 350 apps infected with another family of malware on the Play Store. Of course, this issue isn't exclusive to Google's Android app store as TrendLabs' experts claim that there are currently over 3,000 malicious apps hosted online. Despite Google's best efforts, hackers occasionally find a way to slip past the radar responsible for detecting suspicious code so, as always, be careful when you're downloading apps from unknown developers and make sure they're not requesting some dubious permissions. If everything else fails or you're just looking for additional insurance and protection, download some of the great antivirus apps currently offered on the Play Store.

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]

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