More malicious applications have been discovered in the Google Play store.

by | Jun 25, 2023

The official Google Play store was found to have been delivering apps infected by a new family of malware, which may have cost three million Android users money and infected their devices with spyware.

The new spyware, called “Autolycos” which registers users for premium services was found by French security researcher Maxime Ingrao, who shared his discovery last week on Twitter.

In addition to monitoring SMS messages, contact lists, and device information, the Autolycos virus, which is similar to the Joker spyware, also signs up unwary users for pricey wireless application protocol (WAP) services.

Affected applications include KellyTech’s Funny Camera, which has been downloaded more than 500,000 times from the Google Play Store, and rxcheldiolola’s Razer Keyboard & Theme (more than 50,000 installs).

Other threatening applications that have subsequently been taken down from the Google Play Store are:

  • Vlog Star Video Editor (1 million installs)
  • Creative 3D Launcher (1 million installs)
  • Wow Beauty Camera (100,000 installs)
  • Gif Emoji Keyboard (100,000 installs)
  • Freeglow Camera (5,000 installs)
  • Coco Camera v1.1 (1,000 installs)

According to Ingrao, several of the malicious applications have been publicized on Facebook and Instagram.

Since June 2021, Autolycos-affected applications have been accessible in the official Android market and have been downloaded over three million times, according to Ingrao. Google has just lately removed these apps, however. There will undoubtedly be concerns over Google’s ability to adequately monitor the programs that are made available to millions of users through its marketplace.

There are precautions that all Android users should take to lower their risk of coming across malware. These consist o

  • Ensure that you are using the most recent official security fixes on your Android device.
  • Turn on Google Play Protect, Google’s integrated malware scanner for Android that protects your device from threats.
  • Don’t download apps from rogue app shops, but rather from legitimate sources like the Google Play Store. Although it wouldn’t have helped in this specific instance, the Google Play Store is generally seen to be safer than third-party markets.
  • Before installing an app, read the reviews. However, keep in mind that fake reviews have occasionally been written by malicious software creators in an effort to convince users that the app is secure.
  • Consider carefully whether you should provide the rights that an app asks for when you install it.
  • On your Android smartphone, you might want to use an antivirus product from a reputable security company.