The Play Store saw 3 million downloads of eight malware-infested applications

Unfortunately, Android does not come with a guarantee that it will be free of malicious code. Things may go awry fast if you download the incorrect APK from the wrong source. As long as your applications come from the Google Play Store, they’re typically considered to be clean of malware, thanks to programmes like Play Protect, which scans for any hidden spyware. Some viruses do manage to get past Google’s firewall and onto consumers’ phones. Over 3 million copies of a piece of malware known as Autolycos were downloaded from the Google Play Store as part of popular applications.

Maxime Ingrao, a security researcher, found the spyware (via Bleeping Computer). As of this writing, it has been removed from at least eight apps, all of which have been taken down by Google, although the firm apparently waited six months to take action. If allowed to run, the virus will run URLs on a remote browser and inject them into HTTP requests, rather than loading an external WebView. It also asks for permission to view SMS content, allowing the infected applications to collect one-time password tokens and other sensitive information from your text messages.

Users are targeted by ad campaigns, the most majority of which are on Facebook, to spread the harmful programmes. To entice users to install them, developers provide enticing keyboard skins, aesthetically pleasing launcher applications, and camera apps with fun filter options. Two of those applications have more than a million downloads each, making them successful in that aspect.

As a result of the Play Store’s removal of these apps:

  • Vlog Star Video Editor (com.vlog.star.video.editor, 1 million downloads)
  • Creative 3D Launcher (app.launcher.creative3d, 1 million downloads)
  • Wow Beauty Camera (com.wowbeauty.camera, 100,000 downloads)
  • Gif Emoji Keyboard (com.gif.emoji.keyboard, 100,000 downloads)
  • Razer Keyboard & Theme (com.razer.keyboards, 10,000 downloads, not related to the gaming/tech company Razer)
  • Freeglow Camera 1.0.0 (com.glow.camera.open, 5,000 downloads)
  • Coco Camera v1.1 (com.toomore.cool.camera, 1,000 downloads)

Uninstall any of the applications listed above that you may have downloaded after seeing an ad on Facebook. Do not, under any circumstances, download applications from advertisements.