Cybercriminals and Google Play: how do they manage to spread apps with malware?

Google does a constant and thorough job when it comes to control Google Play.

The app Android present inside the store, in fact, are constantly monitored to avoid interference by malicious software. Despite Google’s many initiatives, however, it is not uncommon to come across apps that pose a threat to users.

Since Google Play hosts more than 3 million of unique apps, even for the Mountain View giant it is almost impossible to make its platform 100% secure.

If we add to this the cunning of cybercriminals, it is easy to understand why Kaspersky estimated that, during 2023, they will have been downloaded from Google Play more than 600 million dangerous apps. But how do cybercriminals manage to sneak in among the many legitimate apps?

The modus operandi is as simple as it is effective. In most cases, cybercriminals create more developer account to upload apps to the store.

How cybercriminals sneak into Google Play

Once this is done, they increase the credibility of the account by uploading cheesy apps, which do not present any kind of malicious code. These, as you can easily imagine, easily overcome Google’s moderation.

When the apps begin to be successful, the authors update them, enriching them with new functions. Among them, there are also malicious codes that are very dangerous for users. Not only that: it is good to consider that cyber criminals create countless developer accounts, acting repeatedly when one of these is banned from Google Play.

The malicious codes just mentioned can in fact offer ample room for maneuver for attackers. In fact, not only the contents of smartphones are at risk (such as Photo, video e file of various types), but cybercriminals can sometimes also access the microphonerecord any words typed by the victim or shoot screenshot of what appears on the display.

How to avoid unpleasant surprises

If it is true that malware can access Google Play, it is also possible to greatly limit the risks.

In fact, users always should find out about the developertrying to understand if he is who he really claims to be and if he has a comforting history with various apps produced in the previous months and years.

Rely on the simple user ratings, is not enough: cybercriminals, in fact, can find ways to falsify this type of parameter. A good way to evaluate the actual goodness of an app is to compare the number of download with ratings. In fact, with a large sample of opinions, there are greater guarantees regarding their validity.

Finally, it is good to remember that although Google Play is not an environment that offers total security, it is still much more reliable than third-party stores. In this sense, it is always best to avoid downloads from untrustworthy sources.


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