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13 malicious Android apps removed from Google Play Store
Google has reportedly removed 13 Android apps from the Play Store. This move has been taken after a security researcher found that these apps were installing malware on devices. The researcher has revealed a shocking fact that these apps have been downloaded by over half a million users, so there is an increased possibility for malware to have been installed on these devices.
What's even more shocking is that two of these apps had been featured under the Google Play Store's 'Trending' section. However, these apps are not longer available for download on the Play Store.
13 malicious apps on Google Play Store
As per a tweet by ESET security researcher Lukas Stefanko, the 13 malicious apps found on the Play Store were downloaded over 560,000 times. All these apps have been listed by a single developer by name Luiz Pinto and were disguised as games. However, these apps did not work and crashed whenever a user tried to launch them as there is no legitimate functionality.
Reportedly, these apps request users to install an APK called Game Center. On launching the Game Center, it will hide itself and display ads when the device is unlocked. The researcher has posted a video demonstrating the same.
List of malicious apps removed by Google
As per a screenshot shared by the security researcher, the malicious apps removed from the Google Play Store are listed as Truck Cargo Simulator, Extreme Car Driving, City Traffic Moto Racing, Moto Cross Extreme, Hyper Car Driving Simulator, Extreme Car Driving, FireFighter - Fire Truck Simulator, Car Driving Simulator, Extreme Sport Car, SUV 4x4 Driving Simulator, Luxury Cars SUV Simulator, Luxury Car Parking and SUV City Climb Parking.
Android malware apps removed
This is not the first time that we have come across apps being removed from the Play Store. Last month, Cisco Talos researchers discovered Android malware dubbed GPlayed, which uses an icon similar to the Play Store. It is capable of monitoring the location of the users' device and harvesting their banking credentials. Also, there is an Android Trojan labeled Google Play Marketplace, which makes it unlikely for users to detect the malware.
Back in January this year, Google announced that it had removed over 700,000 apps and 100,000 developers violating the Google Play policies. Since last year, the company has taken down over 250,000 million apps that were impersonating famous apps.