Beware! Over 2,000 fake apps spotted on Google Play
Tech giant Google probably needs to work on its app approval stage as a team of researchers claim to have found more than 2,000 malware-laden apps on Google Play, all of which, they claim are copycats of some of the most popular apps downloaded by users.
Tech giant Google probably needs to work on its app approval stage as a team of researchers claim to have found more than 2,000 malware-laden apps on Google Play, all of which, they claim are copycats of some of the most popular apps downloaded by users. According to a report by Computer World, researchers from the University of Sydney and CSIRO's Data61 have investigated more than a million apps on the Google Play Store and have found out there are over 2,000 apps that are counterfeits and malware-laden.
The report said that some of the most popular games on the platform such as Temple Run, Hill Climb Racing, and Free Flow are the most commonly copied games. It said that while some apps are malware free, they request for dangerous data access permissions. The report said that researchers used neural networks during the investigation and found out that there were many fake apps with visually similar icons to 10,000 of the most popular apps on Google Play, and also partially plagiarised their text descriptions.
This is done to mislead the users into downloading these apps from the platform. Using their ‘relaxed threshold' process, researchers concluded that there are 2,040 high-risk fake apps on the Google Play Store. They checked if these apps contain malware using the private API of online malware analysis tool, VirusTotal.
The report said that over 7,000 of these apps were found to have malware in at least one parameter. The paper with these findings was published in May and the report added that about 35 per cent of these 2,040 malware-laden copycat apps found have since been removed, possibly over consumer complaints.
Even though Google has been consistently working on malware detection in apps and preventing counterfeits using Google Play Protect, further steps can be taken to identify these apps. The company also uses machine learning and other AI-based techniques to identify harmful apps and hoepfully, the latest report will help it refine the process further.