In some unfortunate news, the Google Play Store has introduced yet another mischievous duo lurking in its digital realm. A leading cybersecurity company called Pradio has been revealed. Upon discovering this illegal behavior, Pradeo immediately notified Google and the apps were removed from Google Play. Pradeo researchers found that two malicious apps contained spyware and secretly sent Android users' personal data to servers in China. Here's what we know so far and what you can do once you download these apps on your device.
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Marketing themselves as file management tools, the two apps have collectively amassed more than 1.5 million downloads. Both applications are called File Recovery and Data Recovery and File Manager, both from the same developer. Each app is designed to help Android users organize files and data on their phones. Both programs claim that data collection is not under their control.
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Pradeo's report revealed that these apps actually collect users' personal information and share it with China without people's knowledge, including contact lists, media files, real-time location, mobile country code, network provider information , SIM card provider's network code, operating system. Device version, make and model.
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The hackers behind these apps also use installer farms to artificially boost their downloads to give the impression of credibility. By increasing the number of downloads, they create the illusion of trust, which increases the chances that potential victims will install their app. Additionally, each app also had advanced permissions that allowed them to hide their own icons on the Android home screen, making them harder to remove. This further helps hackers maintain their presence on the victim's device, thereby increasing the likelihood of unauthorized access or malicious activity.
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We've reached out to Google for comment on the two malicious apps found on the Google Play Store, and a Google spokesperson said:
"These apps have been removed from Google Play. Google Play Protection protects users of Android devices with Google Play services from these malicious apps, even when these apps come from sources other than Play."
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You can remove apps yourself, but Google Play Protection, the built-in malware protection for Android devices, automatically removes known malware. However, it should be noted that Google Play Protection may not be enough. Historically, removing all known malware from Android devices is not 100% foolproof.
Keeping hackers away from your device can be avoided if you have a good antivirus program installed. Having antivirus software on your device will ensure you don't click on potentially dangerous links that could install malware on your device, allowing hackers to access your personal information. It's also designed to tell you when malware is already on your device, so you can take action to get rid of it now.
Check out my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices at Cyberguy.com/LockUpYourTech .
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Settings may vary depending on the Android phone manufacturer
Go to the Settings app
Click Apps & notifications or just Apps.
Click Show all apps
Scroll down and find the app you want to uninstall
Tap the app, then tap Uninstall
You should always be careful before downloading any new app to your phone, even if it comes from a legitimate source like the Google Play Store or the App Store.
This is an important step you can take before downloading an app. You want to make sure you understand exactly what permissions an app has before giving out your personal information, and you want to make sure you read reviews carefully. Look for specificity in these reviews, as hackers sometimes post generic fake reviews to make an app look legitimate when it isn't. It also doesn't hurt to research the developer of the app to see if it's legit.
Sometimes cybercriminals create fake or cloned versions of popular apps to trick you into downloading malware. Pay attention to the app name, developer name, and reviews to make sure you're downloading the legitimate version.
If something isn't clear about an app, trust your gut. If a program looks suspicious, has bad reviews, or exhibits unexpected behavior, it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid downloading or using it.
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Unfortunately, these hackers successfully trick innocent people into downloading these malicious apps that's why we should always be careful and investigate everything before downloading any apps on our phones and tablets. Let's be careful and remember that a few minutes of careful research can save us from endless headaches caused by these cunning hackers and their nasty apps.
What else can app stores do to stop these rogue apps from sending our personal data to foreign countries like China? Let us know by writing to Cyberguy.com/Contact
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