Delete These Malware Apps From Android ASAP
While the Google Play Store advertises itself as a safe place to download apps on Android, it isn’t perfect. We learn about apps containing malware all the time, thanks to diligent work from researchers around the globe. It seems nearly every week we hear about these apps being discovered, only for Google to delete them after the fact. This week, however, is particularly dire, as a group of new malware apps was downloaded around 10 million times.
Researchers from the Dr. Web antivirus team were the ones to discover the malware outbreak on the Play Store. In all, they discovered 28 compromised apps, designed to appear legitimate but in actuality subscribe victims to paid, premium services, serve malicious ads, and steal social media account data. The apps in question will ask permission to run in the background at all times, allowing them access to your device even when the app isn’t open. They also disguise themselves on your phone: The app icons may never appear at all, or they may appear as standard utility apps most users would never think twice about.
The app downloaded the most is called “Neon Theme Keyboard,” which at the time of its removal had over one million installs alone. In total, victims downloaded these apps 10 million times, implying a huge number of compromised devices.
Here is the list of apps containing the discovered malware. If you have any of these apps on your Android device, delete them immediately:
- Photo Editor: Beauty Filter (gb.artfilter.tenvarnist)
- Photo Editor: Retouch & Cutout (de.nineergysh.quickarttwo)
- Photo Editor: Art Filters (gb.painnt.moonlightingnine)
- Photo Editor – Design Maker (gb.twentynine.redaktoridea)
- Photo Editor & Background Eraser (de.photoground.twentysixshot)
- Photo & Exif Editor (de.xnano.photoexifeditornine)
- Photo Editor – Filters Effects (de.hitopgop.sixtyeightgx)
- Photo Filters & Effects (de.sixtyonecollice.cameraroll)
- Photo Editor : Blur Image (de.instgang.fiftyggfife)
- Photo Editor : Cut, Paste (de.fiftyninecamera.rollredactor)
- Emoji Keyboard: Stickers & GIF (gb.crazykey.sevenboard)
- Neon Theme Keyboard (com.neonthemekeyboard.app)
- Neon Theme – Android Keyboard (com.androidneonkeyboard.app)
- Cashe Cleaner (com.cachecleanereasytool.app)
- Fancy Charging (com.fancyanimatedbattery.app)
- FastCleaner: Cashe Cleaner (com.fastcleanercashecleaner.app)
- Call Skins – Caller Themes (com.rockskinthemes.app)
- Funny Caller (com.funnycallercustomtheme.app)
- CallMe Phone Themes (com.callercallwallpaper.app)
- InCall: Contact Background (com.mycallcustomcallscrean.app)
- MyCall – Call Personalization (com.mycallcallpersonalization.app)
- Caller Theme (com.caller.theme.slow)
- Caller Theme (com.callertheme.firstref)
- Funny Wallpapers – Live Screen (com.funnywallpapaerslive.app)
- 4K Wallpapers Auto Changer (de.andromo.ssfiftylivesixcc)
- NewScrean: 4D Wallpapers (com.newscrean4dwallpapers.app)
- Stock Wallpapers & Backgrounds (de.stockeighty.onewallpapers)
- Notes – reminders and lists (com.notesreminderslists.app)
How to avoid malware apps in the future
We don’t know apps contain malware until researchers (from Google or a third-party) confirm it as such. However, there are steps you can take to help ensure you don’t install an app that contains malicious code.
Vet your app downloads carefully: Make sure everything, from the title, to the description, to the preview images, makes sense, is spelled correctly, and looks high-quality. Take a look at the permissions the app wants to use: If there are unnecessary permissions, like location or camera, that don’t make sense for the app, skip it.