Where are the most dangerous apps for Android smartphones

A security firm has ranked the online stores where the most malicious apps are found. Here's what they are

Free Android apps can hide a number of security risks. These apps, usually games, very often hide viruses, malware, spyware and adware that can compromise our privacy security as well as bombard us with unwanted advertisements. Malicious apps that, once installed, are difficult to remove and that often overcome even the barriers raised by antivirus softwares.

A phenomenon, that of dangerous apps, that in the last period has experienced a surge and that has involved above all the Google Play Store, finished in the eye of the storm for not effectively defending "its own borders". But the Google Play Store, in reality, is not the most dangerous Android app store. This is said by a report by RiskIQ 2019, a San Francisco-based cybersecurity company, which has compiled a ranking of the most dangerous stores where to download an app. On Android smartphones, in fact, you can use third-party stores alternative to the Play Store. But not all of them are safe and hide real pitfalls.

Which are the most dangerous Android stores

Only on 9Game.com, the portal dedicated to free game downloads for green robot devices, in 2019 as many as 61,669 new malicious apps were uploaded by developers. A real record in the negative that makes 9Game.com the mobile app store that hosts the most dangerous apps. Not only that, 9Game.com turns out to be the store with the highest concentration of dangerous apps. In this particular ranking compiled by RiskIQ, in second place, hear ye, we find the official Android app store with 25,467 new malicious apps. Completing the top five related to security and privacy risks are the Qihoo 360 store, Feral's virtual store and, finally, Huawei's Vmall app store. The position of the Google Play Store, however, needs to be put into context. It is the store with the highest number of apps in the world, and it can happen that some of them escape the control of Play Protect.

Dangerous apps: slightly decreasing trend

The Mountain View giant is, however, taking action by improving controls on the apps included in the virtual store with some important first results: in 2019, the apps that fall in the store's black list have decreased by 76.4%. RiskIQ states that the phenomenon is undergoing a slight decline globally, with the number of malicious apps decreasing by around -20%, thus going from 213,278 dangerous apps recorded in 2018 to 170,796 in 2019.

A decidedly downward trend but one that should not let our guard down. Never before has the number of apps been so high, RiskIQ experts said that in 2019 they recorded 8.9 million apps uploaded globally to online stores, 18% more than the previous year and most of these apps come from Chinese developers.

Why the App Store has fewer dangerous apps

In Cupertino, things are a little different. Apple's App Store is distinguished by the use of a series of individual review processes for each and every app uploaded to the portal, a decidedly more thorough check that allows malicious ones to be identified and eliminated. This is quite different from the automated checks that are employed by most other stores, especially the Chinese ones. According to RiskIQ, Apple's store can be compared to Fort Knox and rarely hosts malicious apps.