Beware: Multiple apps plague Google Play Store

By Balamurugan Selvaraj Published on Nov 16, 2017 03:09 PM IST

Did you know that you are being spammed almost every day?

With all its security features, tech giant Google says that this has been the scene for almost a decade now.

The multinational tech firm is facing several criticisms for allowing spammers to sell malicious apps in their market.

Researchers and smartphone manufacturers across the globe suggests to use apps from Google Play Store to stay malicious free. But in recent times, a few black hat developers from Russia, China and Korea were caught for spamming users with malicious apps through Play Store.

At the same time, the tech giant updated its security system to advanced level with Play Protect. But hackers seem too smart.

The best example was the presence of four fake and malicious WhatsApp messengers in Play Store.

These malicious apps are hazardous in their behaviour. They can install Trojans silently and can overlap the screen during transactions or data transmissions. The problem will not just be with data theft, but also lead to privacy problem.

HOW TO IDENTIFY SUCH APPS

Before installing an app, users need to check on the developers tag. This will be at the bottom of the app page. Confirm the developers name and details with the domain of the webpage. An official app developed by an organisation will comes with details of company and mail address with developer’s name or company [email protected] domainName.com.

PROBLEMS IN FAKE

This depends on the app and its usage. If the app is for communication purpose, look at the permissions it needs. Apps like WhatsApp usually needs permission to access storage, call list and camera. But vulnerable apps with similar name takes these permissions without the user’s knowledge.

If the user instals vulnerable apps from Play Store, it is important that the app is uninstalled before opening.

BREAKING SECURITY

Play Protect, one of recently upgraded security levels by Google, filters malicious and fake apps. To crack this, hackers use multiple links as shortened links of malicious files in cyberspace. These links are designed to spoof the Play Protect.

In addition, a few hackers design fake apps with permission flaws. This leads to user losing data and privacy threat.

HOW DIFFERENT ARE THESE FAKES?

Several fake WhatsApp messengers were launched through Play Store to trap users. These had a symbol at the suffix, which was quite invisible, as such .dot or asterik in the suffix. Since this was not visible, people tend to download them. Therefore it is essential to completely read the app before installing them in their devices.