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Evil Apps Hit Play Store Trending Chart

Paul Rubens - November 26, 2018 - 05:54 AM
Evil Apps Hit Play Store Trending Chart
Apps which do nothing but install code to display ads on users' screens made Google Plays 'Trending' List.

(CCM) — A hacker group infiltrated Google's Play Store with 13 malicious code packages which were described as driving simulator games earlier this month. However, the "games" did not run when a user attempted to launch them. Instead, a malicious app which displayed ads in the user's screen whenever their device is unlocked was downloaded and run invisibly.


To entice users to downloads the malicious code the hackers supplied professional-looking screenshots and icons, according to a Tech Times report. Their ruse appears to have been successful, because two of the apps were downloaded as such a high rate that they even broke into the Google Play "Trending" chart, according to the report.

The 13 "games," which purported to have been published by one Luiz O. Pinto, were downloaded more than half a million times in total before Google removed the apps from the store. The incident clearly demonstrates the potential security risk of allowing unvetted games to be included in charts such as Google's "Trending" which many users see as an implicit endorsement of the product.

The malicious behavior of the "games" was first identified by Lukas Stefanko, a security researcher at Slovakia-based anti-virus company ESET.

Last year Google removed more than 700,000 malicious apps which hackers had managed to smuggle into the Google Play Store, according to Tech Times.

Image: © ChonlachaiPanprommas - Shutterstock.com
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