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Google Removes More than 500 Apps after Discovering Spyware

Despite implementing several security measures, Play Store still contains bunch of malicious applications which can compromise your privacy. Mobile Security firm Lookout has been pretty vocal over last couple of months as the company repeatedly issued warning to Android users about the potential threats of the applications on the platform. Most recently, the company has revealed that more than 500 popular applications in the Play Store contains a backdoor that would allow a developer to add spyware.

The majority of the affected applications were developed using the Igexin software development kit (SDK) and the applications amount to more than 100 million downloads. Talking about the latest security flaw, the company’s researchers wrote in a blog post, “It is becoming increasingly common for innovative malware authors to attempt to evade detection by submitting innocuous apps to trusted app stores, then at a later time, downloading malicious code from a remote server.”

“Igexin is somewhat unique because the app developers themselves are not creating the malicious functionality – nor are they in control or even aware of the malicious payload that may subsequently execute. Instead, the invasive activity initiates from an Igexin-controlled server.”

While security firms in the past warned users about the potential security threats, generally, the number of downloads of the malicious applications aren’t that many. However, these 500 applications are highly popular in the Play Store with applications include games targeted towards teenagers along with several other highly popular applications in different categories including educational, health and fitness, travel, emoji and home video camera apps.

Understandably, the security firm has refused to name the applications affected by the flaw and revealed that users of the company’s security apps are protected from possible attacks. If that’s the case, then other security apps developed by other companies are likely to contain features to protect the users.

Since the announcement, affected applications are either removed or have been replaced by safe versions of the application. Few weeks earlier, Google launched its ‘Google Play Protect’ to inform users about the potential security threats of an application. The feature is an in built security feature to remove applications with malicious codes before they reach users.

Featured Image: vimeo

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