Google removes over 500 apps from its Play Store after spyware threat

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

Representative Image

Representative Image

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.

The bug in SDK was discovered when an app appeared to be downloading large, encrypted files from those servers. Many of the developers of the impacted apps were unaware of the security flaws, the report added.

The move comes a little more than a week after Lookout identified a family of malware, referred to as 'SonicSpy' on Google Play Store, that can remotely control infected Android smartphones, the media reported.

The samples of 'SonicSpy' most recently found on the Play Store, called 'Soniac', is marketed as a messaging app, the researchers said on Sunday. It has infected more than 1,000 additional apps hosted at third-party Android app stores.

The malware gives attackers control over the device and allows them to silently record audio, make calls, retrieve call logs, contacts and take photographs, the company said in a blog post.

 


Published Date: Aug 23, 2017 05:18 pm | Updated Date: Aug 23, 2017 05:18 pm