Malware filled camera beauty and filter apps removed from Google Play Store

Google Play Store apps with over 4M downloads found with malware phishing scams

Google Play Store apps with over 4M downloads found with malware phishing scams

Security firm Trend Micro (via SlashGear) has found 29 "beauty camera" and camera filter apps in the Google Play Store loaded with malware inside. The apps have already been removed by Google from the Play Store, but only after accumulating millions of downloads.

Apps won't support the dark mode by "default": Google doesn't seem to want to force the UI change in an app and cause inadvertent issues, like black text on a black background - very Douglas Adams perhaps but not very useful for users.

The photo apps carried out a number of nefarious activities on Android devices which they were installed to. Some of the apps would load up a full-screen advertisement for fraudulent or pornographic content every time a user unlocked the device. To claim the prize, the "winner" was asked for certain personal information.

Trend Micro points out that even technically legal content, such as pornography, promoted by these apps were a scam.

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Trend Micro wrote that the apps all took pains to appear as legitimate as possible, meaning that the main method users could tell something fishy was going on would be to read reviews (which in at least one case, immediately pulled up users who wrote "Disgusting!stupid!Listen you stupid" and "if u download it u r phone will be hacked. worst app").

It's become increasingly apparent in recent years that Google is having a hard time keeping its Play Store free of apps that hide malware or prey on users with phishing attempts and other scams.

Furthermore, when a user would upload a picture to have a filter applied, the app would upload the image to a private server and return an error message telling the user to update the app. Developers will need to target a new API and make sure their app responds appropriately when the system switches the theme. In addition, there's no indication to a user that these apps were responsible for the pop-ups being shown on their Android phone. These fake beauty apps were hidden from a user's application list. Each one notched over 1 million downloads. Three of the apps alone accounted for more than 3 million of the downloads.

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