Over 500 Apps Removed From Google Play Store After Spyware Attack
Over 500 apps on the Google Play Store with a collective download of over 100 Million users were pulled down earlier today by Google. This move was taken by Google after a team of researchers at Lookout spotted a backdoor on these apps which would allow the developers to install spyware on the device of the users any time they want.
The Problem with These Apps:
All the apps that have been removed from the Google Play Store were developed using the Software Development Kit Igexin. Igexin allows advertisers to easily target the users with ads based on their preferences. However, the researchers at Lookout found out that the apps were communicating with external servers which were previously known for having dished out malware.
This caused a potential security risk for the users. Google has been rather merciless when it comes to safety of the users. Any app that is found to violate even the slightest of terms or impose a safety risk is immediately pulled down. Google, on their part was quick to act on this too, and over 500 apps were pulled down from the Google Play Store in light of the security risk.
Which Google Play Store Apps Were Affected
Lookout points out that there are some apps which do communicate with these suspected servers. However, the ones that they pointed out as a potential security risk were downloading large, encrypted files from the servers. While Lookout has not named the apps – two names have since surfaced: Lucky Cash and SelfieCity. However, the company also points out that the developers of the apps are likely to not be involved in this and they were unaware of the apps downloading these files.
Without naming the apps, Lookout points out that the affected apps that contain the SDK included:
- Games targeted at teens (one with 50M-100M downloads)
- Weather apps (one with 1M-5M downloads)
- Internet radio (500K-1M downloads)
- Photo editors (1M-5M downloads)
- Educational, health and fitness, travel, emoji, home video camera apps