If you have an Android device and you’ve been downloading apps from GooglePlay recently, you may wish to proceed with caution. Google has blocked three apps that loaded malware onto Android users’ devices. Others that are potentially dangerous are being investigated.
The security firm Avast discovered these apps on the Play Store and reported them to Google. They were reportedly infected with malware and causing havoc on customers’ smartphones.
The main offender is a free card game called Durak, which according to the Google counter has been downloaded up to ten million times. The other infected apps seem to be mostly Russian – there’s a Russian Language IQ test – apparently downloaded up to five million times, and a Russian history educational tool, downloaded up to 50,000 times.
A report by BBC news indicates that dozens more apps created by the same developer may also cause a risk. These include wedding planning software, video games, a psychology guide and cookbooks.
If your device has been infected, you may not become aware of it immediately. The malware is cleverly designed to kick in at least a few days after installation, leading you to believe that the app you downloaded was not at fault. At his point you will start to get pop-ups advising you that your phone has become infected, is out of date or is full of pornography – none of which is true.
The pop-ups will often direct you to third-party apps which are supposed to help resolve these non-existent problems. Some of these may attempt to retrieve your personal data. Strangely, you may sometimes even be directed to legitimate security apps such as Quihoo 360, although you still won’t be able to get rid of the malware.
It would appear that these problems aren’t exactly new. There were reports going back as far as November 2013 of suspected malware issues attached to the Durak card game.