Google removes over 500 apps from Play Store over spyware

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Google removes over 500 apps

This was done after US-based cyber-security firm Lookout discovered more than 500 apps that could spread spyware on mobile phones.

play store

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Google has removed over 500 malicious apps from Play store
  • Apps used certain software to covertly siphon people’s personal data
  • Many of the developers of the impacted apps were unaware of flaws

Google has removed over 500 apps that included mobile games for teenagers from its Play Store on account of a spyware threat.

The decision came after US-based cyber-security firm Lookout discovered more than 500 apps that could spread spyware on mobile phones, Fortune reported late on Wednesday.

According to Lookout, the apps used certain software that had the ability to covertly siphon people’s personal data on their devices without alerting the app makers.

The impacted apps included mobile games for teenagers, weather apps, online radio, photo editing, education, health, fitness and home video camera apps.
The researchers discovered that the ‘Igexin’ advertising software development kit (SDK) embedded in the apps caused these to communicate with outside servers that had earlier spread malware.

“While not all of these applications have been confirmed to download the malicious spying capability, Igexin could have introduced that functionality at their convenience,” Lookout security engineers Adam Bauer and Christoph Hebeisen said in their report.

The threat caught by Lookout is just the latest instance of compromised apps being removed from the Google Play Store. While Google has taken a more aggressive approach to policing its app marketplace, the search giant has still been stuck fighting threat after threat that slip through.


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