Android, fake antivirus apps hid malware: which ones are

On the Google Play Store, 11 antivirus apps were discovered that actually installed malware on the smartphone: here are which ones and how to defend yourself

Another eleven dangerous apps have been removed from the Play Store. As in the past, these are fake antivirus apps that were actually hiding malware that infected the device and were able to block its functionality. This is nothing new: in the past month, Google has had to delete about a hundred apps from its online store.

Instead of removing viruses, these apps were simply installing adware. That is, malicious code that displays unwanted advertisements to users. The only functionality vaguely resembling that of an antivirus was the presence of a list of notoriously infected apps. La segnalazione di queste app a Google, che ha poi proceduto a rimuoverle dal suo store, è stata fatta da Quick Heal Technologies, società che sviluppa antivirus veri ed efficaci. Non è affatto la prima volta che una società di sicurezza rintraccia sul Play Store delle applicazioni infette, fake o pericolose che Google aveva lasciato passare, approvandole per la pubblicazione.

Quali sono le false app antivirus pericolose

Tutte le undici applicazioni fake scoperte da Quick Heal si spacciavano per antivirus, come si può già intuire dai nomi:

  • Virus Remover
  • Fast Antivirus and Security
  • Smart Antivirus & Security
  • Protector Security Antivirus Accelerator Cleaning
  • Mobile Security- Antivirus Applock Cleaner
  • Free Smart Antivirus – Mobile Booster
  • NPC Antivirus and Security: Mobile Virus Cleaner
  • Ultra Speed Bluster and Junk Cleaner 2018
  • Antivirus Security
  • Antivirus for Mobile 2019
  • Mobile Antivirus Security.

Chiunque abbia già installato una di queste applicazioni, quindi, farebbe bere a rimuoverla dal proprio smartphone Android prima possibile, a scaricare un antivirus vero e a lanciare una scansione approfondita. La prima della lista di queste, forse anche grazie al nome molto esplicito e facile da ricordare, è anche quella che è stata scaricata più volte: oltre centomila download. The rating of these apps on Google's store was also quite high, between 3.8 and 4.5 stars, suggesting a heavy activity of posting fake reviews.

The pains of Google Play Store

Not a week goes by lately without hearing that Google has been forced to remove one or more dangerous apps for users, after a thorough report by some cybersecurity company. The most recent and most striking case is that of the CamScanner app, which turns our smartphone into a document scanner and which, after years of honorable service and over 100 million downloads, has been infected by a virus. The report came from Kaspersky.

All this does is fuel the controversy and increase the fears of users who, when they download an app from the Play Store, expect it to be "clean" and controlled. While in the past Google was able to ensure adequate control over the apps that were published on the Play Store, it seems that now it can do so much less, despite the fact that in the last period it has created ad hoc tools, such as Play Protect, which should scan the online store precisely to find infected and dangerous apps.