Another series of malicious apps filled with adware and malware managed to slip past Google’s defenses and get into the Play Store.
To trick unsuspecting users into downloading them, these 36 malicious apps masquerade as image editing tools, virtual keyboards, system optimizers, wallpaper changers, and other useful tools.
While these apps promise to add new functionality to your android smartphonethey basically push intrusive ads, subscribe users to premium services and steal social media accounts instead, according to BleepingComputer (opens in new tab).
The malicious apps were discovered by security researchers from the antivirus software maker dr. Web that has provided greater insight into each of the individual apps in a new report (opens in new tab).
While Google has removed most of these bad apps from the Play Store, you still need to manually remove them if you have one on your Android devices.
Adware apps that keep running in the background
Except it’s annoying adware apps can quickly drain your smartphone battery as many are designed to continue running in the background even after you close them.
The one that Dr. Web have been discovered are actually adaptations of existing adware families that first appeared on the Play Store in May of this year.
These adware apps can also run on top of other apps as they ask for permission to use overlay windows during installation. However, they can also continue to run in the background by adding themselves to the Android battery saver exclusion list.
To make matters worse, many of these adware apps also have the option to hide their app icons in the app drawer or replace them with another icon resembling a core system component such as “SIM Toolkit”.
Of these adware apps, the Neon Theme Keyboard by Nataļja Kokorevičs (which is still on the Play Store at the time of writing) stands out because it has over a million downloads, even with a terrible score of 1.8 based on 4,000 reviews . Fortunately, however, it seems that Google Play Protect has started warning users about the app based on ratings in the Play Store.
Joker apps that subscribe users to premium services
The researchers of Dr. Web also found malicious apps in the Play Store that infected users’ devices with the infamous Joker malware.
These apps are particularly dangerous because this malware strain has the ability to sign up victims for: premium subscription services without their knowledge. Unfortunately, two of the malicious apps in Dr. Web (Water Reminder- Tracker & Reminder by YPC Dev and Yoga- For Beginner to Advanced by ALHASSAN) still available for download and yet to be removed from Play Store.
While both apps provide the functionality described in their Play Store listings, they also perform malicious actions in the background.
Image editing apps that steal your Facebook account
having your Facebook account hacked can be devastating, especially if it’s a Facebook Business Accounttherefore, two of the malicious apps identified by Dr. Web have been discovered, be removed immediately.
These two apps (YouToon – AI Cartoon Effect and Pista – Cartoon Photo Effect) disguise themselves as image editing tools that can apply cartoon filters to ordinary images and have been downloaded more than 1.5 million times from the Play Store.
Both apps are designed to steal data from your Android smartphone that can be used to hack your Facebook account.
Protect yourself from malicious apps in the Play Store
To avoid intrusive ads, subscribing to premium services against your will, or having your social media accounts stolen, first go through the list below to make sure none of these malicious apps are on your Android smartphone. is installed. or tablet.
If this is the case, remove them immediately and consider one of the best android antivirus apps to look for viruses that may have been left behind.
- Photo Editor: Beauty Filter
- Photo Editor: Retouch & Cut Out
- Photo Editor: Art Filters
- Photo Editor – Design Maker
- Photo editor and background eraser
- Photo and Exif Editor
- Photo Editor – Filter Effects
- Photo filters and effects
- Photo Editor: Blur Image
- Photo Editor: Cut, Paste
- Emoji Keyboard: Stickers and GIF
- Neon Theme Keyboard
- Neon Theme – Android Keyboard
- Cashe Cleaner
- FastCleaner: Cashe Cleaner
- Caller Skins – Caller Themes
- funny caller
- CallMe Phone Themes
- InCall: Contact Background
- MyCall – Call Personalization
- Caller Theme
- Caller Theme
- Funny Wallpapers – Live Screen
- Auto Changer for 4K Wallpapers
- NewScrean: 4D Wallpapers
- Stock wallpapers and backgrounds
- Notes – reminders and lists
At the same time, you should also avoid: install apps from unknown sources and download them from official stores like the Google Play Store, Amazon App Store, or Samsung Galaxy App Store instead.
Even then, bad apps manage to slip past Google’s defenses from time to time. That’s why you should always check user reviews and ratings, visit developer websites, and read the privacy policies of every app you install. I know it’s a lot, but it’s worth doing if you want to be on the safe side.
Finally, you must ensure that: Google Play Protect runs on your devices because it regularly checks for malicious apps and warns you if you try to install one.