Will Google Ever Wake Up: Top ‘Play Store’ Apps Contain ‘High-Risk’ !

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Last month, Google surpassed 25 billion apps download from Google Play store. The figure sounds promising to hear, but the bitter truth is that ‘Google Play Store’ has also become one of the favorite places for malware apps now.

It’s true; malware apps have always been a major concern for users. These apps are considered as nightmares that do nasty stuffs including stealing personal information, crashing the device and more. According to TrustGo, malware apps in Google Play Store have augmented by 580% as of September 2012 compare to a year back.

Considering the potential damages by malware apps; “Talking Tom Cat Free”–an application in Google Play Store that has been downloaded 50 million times– sends users’ phone number and device ID to third-party. Furthermore, more than 175 million Google Play apps downloads (among top 500 apps) have been categorized under high risk bracket.

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On the other hand, malware samples (malicious apps found) have also increased from 4,951 in September 2011 to 28, 707 by the end of the last month. More importantly, 81% of malware apps steal phone numbers of users and sell them to advertisers, while 67% and 43% apps push ‘unwanted ads & notifications’ and capture ‘device ID’ respectively.

Recently, Google Play Store released a client side malware prevention tool called ‘App Check’. The tool checks apps that users download from the ‘App Store’ and alert them if any of apps appear to be a malware. The ‘App Check’ has been developed to scan new apps those are being installed from Google Play store and it inhibits the installation process if any app appears suspicious. Kaspersky Labs reported that malware threats augmented by 300% in Q2 compare to a year ago and 49% of them were identified as Trojans.

In context of malware vulnerability, Apple’s iOS is secure compare to Android due to its tightly controlled ecosystem. Openness of Android OS creates huge opportunities for malware attacks. First, Google produces the OS, and then they hand it over to hardware partners. Thereafter, hardware partner do some changes adding their own software that make the OS more vulnerable. Furthermore, hardware vendors hand it over to service providers, and then they add their own software. A chain of adding software creates opportunities for malware apps. Anyway, Google Play Store has become one of the major concerns for Google and really, it’s time for the search giant to take some effective measures against these malware apps.

Image Credit: TrustGo

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