If you’re an Android user with a penchant for regularly browsing the Play Store seeking new apps and games that might look innocent, handy, or entertaining, it’s always wise to take a moment before downloading anything on your mobile device to carefully read reviews potentially signaling security threats.
Unfortunately, some types of malware can go largely unnoticed for long periods of time, which means that no matter how cautious you are in your pre-installation app vetting process, you can still end up as the unsuspecting victim of a “fleeceware” attack. This is perhaps the most widespread malicious phenomenon allowed to run rampant on Android phones around the world by Google
, with dozens of infected apps discovered by security researchers practically every single week of late.
The newest batch of mischievous apps compiled by Pradeo’s Roxane Suau
includes “just” six titles that managed to collect a grand total of close to 200,000 installs despite not doing anything particularly groundbreaking or getting attention from specialized reviewers.
This highlights the dangers posed by even the most obscure and unremarkable Android apps available in the official Play Store, as some titles may never surpass 100 or 1000 downloads while others can easily break the 50,000 or 100,000 install barriers.
Convenient Scanner 2 and Separate Doc Scanner proved the most popular apps in this particular “collection”, with Safety AppLock, Push Message – Texting & SMS, Emoji Wallpaper, and FingerTip GameBox racking up significantly lower download numbers.
Although it’s impossible to know for sure exactly how many individual Android users were fleeced and what kind of financial damages these apps caused, you should search for the six aforementioned titles on your phones and delete them as soon as possible by following these simple official instructions
It’s also important to check for any subscriptions these apps may have fraudulently signed you up for and cancel those too
. As you might already be aware, the way fleeceware threats work is by overcharging for “premium” access to the most rudimentary or outright useless services you can imagine, as well as by activating costly app subscriptions without notifying you in any shape or form.
For its part, Google did kick the wicked six out of its Play Store… eventually, which doesn’t change the fact that the search giant needs to devise better mechanisms to block individual apps like these, the larger Joker core threat
they’re a part of, and the even larger fleeceware class in the first place.