Hackers Apps Hijack Mobile Devices
On the Google Play Store, millions of Apps are ready to be downloaded to enhance the life of Android users. With a massive amount of traffic, Google Play has transcended into the largest App store in the world. However, it has also become a lucrative marketplace for criminal hackers to deceive unsuspecting victims.
Android phone users are the major targets for dark web hacking groups, whose devices they can easily hijack to earn millions of dollars annually. On Google Play, you will definitely find some Apps that are safe to download and use, while there are others that must be avoided, at all costs.
There are so many Apps being uploaded on the Google Play Store every day that it can be hard to avoid Apps that are “dangerous.” You must educate yourself, so you can easily navigate the Play Store and protect your phone from malware, and other threat actors’ malicious Apps.
As of November 4, 2022, about four Apps that cyber analysts claim to contain dangerous malware are just a few of the many, which have spread like wildfire on Google Play. So far, some of these harmful Apps have racked up millions of downloads by Android users.
Currently, the four dangerous Apps listed below are still residing on the Play Store. One has at least a million installs and has been linked to the Mobile Apps Group, which is stated as the developer.
What Apps should not be on my Android phone?
Cyber researchers tracking these four malicious Apps have revealed that they’ve noticed that once downloaded on a victim’s device, these Apps will automatically divert users to fraudulent websites that steal individuals’ private information. In addition, the researchers noted that they are also used to earn loads of cash for the owner through “pay-per-click” adverts.
Another way these scammers work is that the websites controlled by them encourage consumers to download fake updates for the latest security features and tools, which are usually linked to dangerous files.
Analysts’ reports indicated that the Mobile Apps Group seems to be dark web hackers that are utilizing the Play Store to distribute their maliciously coded Apps. According to a Malwarebytes report, this group has been previously exposed twice, after individuals reported being tormented by adware on their devices. However, to stay on Google Play, these threat actors have submitted cleaned-up versions of the reported deceitful Apps.
Harmful Android Apps List
Malwarebytes documented four harmful Apps linked to the Mobile Apps Group.
- Bluetooth Auto Connect has over a million downloads.
2. The Bluetooth App Sends amassed more than 50,000 installations.
3. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and USB driver account for over 10,000 installations.
4. Smart switch for mobile devices incurs 1,000 downloads.
After many negative reviews on the Google Play Store, Malwarebytes analyzes the Apps and discovered the intrusive behavior of the Apps linked to the Mobile Apps Group. In the initial testing, it shows that an obtrusive advert or phishing link usually displays 72 hours after being downloaded by users. Next, tabs featuring comparable advertisements automatically open every two hours on infected Android devices.
How to remove harmful Apps from Android?
The analysts also noticed that new browser tabs for adverts and phishing sites would also open, even when the device is locked, and not being used by the owner.
To totally remove any traces of a hacker’s App from Android devices, it has to be done by locating the App and manually deleting it. However, hackers earn money from these Apps, and usually make it very difficult for people who have installed them, to easily get rid of their cash cows.
First, you must locate the App on your Android device, and manually uninstall it. Be aware that, in addition, you must run an anti-virus scan to remove all traces. You can also ask a phone repair technician to assist you, if you are unable to get rid of it.