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Thirteen Fake Google Play Apps Victimize Half a Million Users

Researchers have recently discovered 13 fake driving-related apps on the Google Play store with no legitimate functions. The apps were published by Luiz O Pinto and have been installed over 560,000 times. The apps include fire truck simulation, luxury car driving, motocross, and a cargo truck simulator. Once installed, the apps will hide themselves along with their shortcut icon. They will then ask the victim to download and install an additional .APK. Further investigation revealed that the downloaded package was called “Game Center.” If the victim clicks the install button, the apps will display ads without permission when the device is unlocked. There have been reports of the apps causing device shutdowns. Users discovered that the apps were fake and left reviews about the apps. The apps have been reported and have been taken off of the Google Play store at the time of writing this article.

Analyst Notes

Never download applications from unknown third-party stores. Always ensure that a trusted store is being used; it is always good practice to stick to the Google play store and the iOS Appstore. In this case, the applications came from a trusted store, therefore users are advised to always be cautious when downloading unfamiliar apps. It is good practice to check reviews of apps before installing them onto your device. Never be the first person to download a new application as many times new applications can harm your device By waiting a period of time to download a new application, there is an increased chance that the malicious app will be identified and removed by then. Users can also install antivirus software to prevent further malicious activity.