If you have any of these Android apps, uninstall them now

Daniel Sims

Posts: 590   +21
Staff
PSA: Security researchers recently discovered over two dozen malicious Android apps that had become popular on the Google Play Store. They masquerade as innocuous tools while secretly monitoring users and stealing their information. Google removed most of them, but they likely remain installed on many devices.

This week, security group Dr. Web published its June 2022 mobile virus activity report describing around 30 popular Android apps containing trojans, adware, spyware, and other malware. Some had hundreds of thousands or even millions of Google Play Store downloads.

The malicious apps mostly appear as photo editors, theme customization, and wallpaper apps. The list also had an emoji keyboard and note-taking app hiding malware in their coding.

Once users install them, they will display intrusive ads, scam customers, and grab information from devices while hiding themselves from users. One specifically targets WhatsApp messages. Another steals information from other app notifications, downloads additional software, or prompts users to install other apps.

Others are even more vicious, including one that covertly takes videos and photos. Another allows hackers to read a device's texts, track its location, view its browser history, turn on its microphone, log keystrokes, and access other data.

Dr. Web also describes malware that steals information to hack Facebook accounts. They may ask victims to log into authentic Facebook sign-in prompts before intercepting the input data. Another type of malware hiding in scam apps downloads and runs arbitrary code that secretly enrolls users into paid subscriptions.

Some apps provide their advertised functionality while hacking users under the hood. However, others are entirely bogus, like simulated dating services that ask for personal information and subscription payments to continue fake chats.

Some of the malware consists of adware that displays annoying ads. They show various notifications and load full-screen ads that block other apps entirely.

Once downloaded, these fraudulent apps may ask for various permissions to let them secretly monitor users and steal data. These include prompts to continuously run in the background, display on top of other apps, or disable recording notifications. The apps might also replace their original home menu icons with less conspicuous ones to hide.

Google removed almost all the affected apps after Dr. Web notified the company, but a few are still on the Play Store. Dr. Web publicly posted the complete list of bad apples (sample below). If you installed any, you should manually search for them, delete them, and then run a virus scan.

  • Photo Editor: Retouch & Cutout (de.nineergysh.quickarttwo)
  • Photo Editor: Art Filters (gb.painnt.moonlightingnine)
  • Photo Editor & Background Eraser (de.photoground.twentysixshot)
  • Photo & Exif Editor (de.xnano.photoexifeditornine)
  • Photo Editor - Filters Effects (de.hitopgop.sixtyeightgx)
  • Emoji Keyboard: Stickers & GIF (gb.crazykey.sevenboard)
  • Neon Theme - Android Keyboard (com.androidneonkeyboard.app)
  • Fancy Charging (com.fancyanimatedbattery.app)
  • FastCleaner: Cashe Cleaner (com.fastcleanercashecleaner.app)
  • Call Skins - Caller Themes (com.rockskinthemes.app)
  • Funny Caller (com.funnycallercustomtheme.app)

Permalink to story.

 

bratface

Posts: 8   +16
It seems like every couple of days there are more infected apps! This is why I do not download apps to my phone. I have two transit apps & a grocery store app on my phone, that's it. I also DO NOT do any kind of banking (or sensitive things) on my phone! People have become too lazy with their use of their phones.
 

CowsGotMilk

Posts: 102   +223
It seems like every couple of days there are more infected apps! This is why I do not download apps to my phone. I have two transit apps & a grocery store app on my phone, that's it. I also DO NOT do any kind of banking (or sensitive things) on my phone! People have become too lazy with their use of their phones.

Banking on the phone is essential these days. You don't have to worry about security if you only install proven reputation companies apps. Of course there always exceptions.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,827   +1,895
So what does Google do again for Android users to warrant their large cut of revenues that are effectively paid by app store customers?
If you think it's a bad deal, why not start your own app store, and get filthy rich?

OTOH, you may learn they're doing quite a bit more than you imagine to earn that cut.
 

Fulljack

Posts: 98   +89
If you think it's a bad deal, why not start your own app store, and get filthy rich?

OTOH, you may learn they're doing quite a bit more than you imagine to earn that cut.
a lot have, and they're not as successful as Google as, as it is the freakin' DEFAULT app store. being the default helps with engagement, so that the alternative had a hard time to penetrate the market.

that 30% cut is more like 25% for Google profit, and 5% to keep it floating. what a BS.
 

Irata

Posts: 2,198   +3,794
If you think it's a bad deal, why not start your own app store, and get filthy rich?

OTOH, you may learn they're doing quite a bit more than you imagine to earn that cut.
That‘s missing the point - for app stores (alternative ones are afaik possible on Android) the barriers of entry are extremely high.

Assuming that anyone can just start an app store that is commercially feasible is beyond naive.

Google being a quasi monopolist in the Android space also has a greater responsibility, so at the minimum customers can expect that they check apps before they are made available. If this does not happen, they are failing their customers.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,827   +1,895
Assuming that anyone can just start an app store that is commercially feasible is beyond naive.
Hey, you're making progress here. Anyone can start an app store. But to make it commercially feasible requires an investment of billions of dollars and years of time and effort. That means a huge opportunity cost ... not to mention the risk of losing the entire investment.

Google paid that price ... now they're reaping the benefits of it. They have a right to do so. And there ARE competitors to Google's app store ... a dozen or so in fact, IIRC. Ain't the free market great?

Google being a quasi monopolist in the Android space
Whoa, there. Android was created by Google. By your logic, every company is a monopolist. Nike is a monopolist in the "Air Jordan space". Frito-Lay is a monopolist in the "Cheetos space".

FYI: I despise the company Google. But I despise specious self-serving hypocritical rationalization even more.
 
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Endymio

Posts: 1,827   +1,895
a lot have, and they're not as successful as Google as, as it is the freakin' DEFAULT app store. being the default helps with engagement, so that the alternative had a hard time to penetrate the market.
So your argument is that the consumer is being exploited by Google so horribly that they're not willing to spend all of 7 seconds to change their default app store?
 

PEnnn

Posts: 872   +1,049
It seems like every couple of days there are more infected apps! This is why I do not download apps to my phone. I have two transit apps & a grocery store app on my phone, that's it. I also DO NOT do any kind of banking (or sensitive things) on my phone! People have become too lazy with their use of their phones.

One needs to have an app from a reputable bank AND have 2 Factor Authentication enabled.

People can have a real safe at home with money at it. Their money won't be safe if they don't really lock / secure it it!!

Just because some people have dubious apps and bad habits, it doesn't mean online banking is a bad idea.
 

m3tavision

Posts: 850   +618
Hey, you're making progress here. Anyone can start an app store. But to make it commercially feasible requires an investment of billions of dollars and years of time and effort. That means a huge opportunity cost ... not to mention the risk of losing the entire investment.

Google paid that price ... now they're reaping the benefits of it. They have a right to do so. And there ARE competitors to Google's app store ... a dozen or so in fact, IIRC. Ain't the free market great?

Whoa, there. Android was created by Google. By your logic, every company is a monopolist. Nike is a monopolist in the "Air Jordan space". Frito-Lay is a monopolist in the "Cheetos space".

FYI: I despise the company Google. But I despise specious self-serving hypocritical rationalization even more.

You don't need an App store.

That is the whole argument here... and why Apple tries to pilfer people for having a monopoly. Otherwise, ANY APP.. could be downloaded from Website and installed. Apple & Google didn't want that, because they couldn't monetize it (ie: Google play).

Instead of just going to weather.com, or youtube.com... they want you to install an app, so you agree to them, to data-mine you. (One can easily use a browser, instead of an "App").


The point is, there shouldn't be an App Store.. and how Google and Apple make 30% off all Creators..
 

Fulljack

Posts: 98   +89
So your argument is that the consumer is being exploited by Google so horribly that they're not willing to spend all of 7 seconds to change their default app store?
yes. and that's why EU trying to make law to force both Apple and Google to open up it's ecosystem and officially allow third-party app store.

people are dumb. the warning on Android phones when you allow third-party app installation from non-Official (outside of Play Store) channel are enough to stop the majority of people to install third-party app store.
 

yannus

Posts: 85   +70
Good open source apps on F-droid app store. That's the way to go. Open source communities are the only way to counter big tech disproportional power.
 

Irata

Posts: 2,198   +3,794
Hey, you're making progress here. Anyone can start an app store. But to make it commercially feasible requires an investment of billions of dollars and years of time and effort. That means a huge opportunity cost ... not to mention the risk of losing the entire investment.

Google paid that price ... now they're reaping the benefits of it. They have a right to do so. And there ARE competitors to Google's app store ... a dozen or so in fact, IIRC. Ain't the free market great?

Whoa, there. Android was created by Google. By your logic, every company is a monopolist. Nike is a monopolist in the "Air Jordan space". Frito-Lay is a monopolist in the "Cheetos space".

FYI: I despise the company Google. But I despise specious self-serving hypocritical rationalization even more.
So, we have Windows - I can download an app from anywhere, do not need payments to go through Microsoft…

This is also possible on Android but nowhere near as easy as on Windows. And that was the point to get everyone to use the app store. I believe there was also talk of ‚added security‘.

What I expect from an app store is not only that apps are easily available but that it provides a certain amount of security / malware checks. Otherwise its use is limited and imho a smaller cut of revenues justified.