While the internet has many amazing benefits to offer the world, some issues are hard to ignore, such as malware disguised as apps.
This malware can infect your Android device by impersonating legitimate messaging apps such as Threema and Telegram. This malware was developed by the infamous hacking group APT-C-23, best known for its attacks in the Middle East.
However, this incident is not the only one to use similar tactics. There are dozens of apps, potentially even right now, lurking in the Google Play Store. In some cases, they can attract users because they imitate well-known applications. Others might simply offer their services while hiding their true intent to spy on or infect devices.
Let’s learn more about the dangers of fake apps and how they can compromise your device.
The infection starts with a download
All security researchers insist on one thing: users should download programs from trusted sources. Generally, customers think that Google Play Store is as secure as possible. However, this is not always the case. Although Google Play Store is a reputable source, that does not mean that everything it offers is up to the same standards.
There have been more than a few instances where apps perform covert operations. Disturbingly, many malicious Android apps are advertised as entertaining programs for children.
Other Incidents Involving Android and Fake Apps
iOS and Android platforms are prone to fake apps that hackers use to steal both money and information from victims. In May 2021, researchers detected a total of 167 fake mobile apps used to steal money from victims who thought they had installed an app from a trusted and well-known organization.
The hackers used fake Android and iOS app download pages and app testing websites, as well as social engineering techniques to distribute the fake apps to users of both mobile platforms. They have also extended their activities to online dating.
To lure victims, scammers create profiles on various dating apps and exchange messages with individual targets before tricking them into installing fake apps and adding cryptocurrency and money to the apps.
The moment the victim attempted to close the account or withdraw funds, the hackers simply blocked their access. Scammers have also targeted victims by spoofing the websites of trusted brands and financial institutions, such as banks.
Security tips to protect your Android
Since most fraudulent transactions come from mobile devices, here are some helpful security tips to protect your device from hackers and always keep your phone safe.
Always keep remote lock and tracking settings enabled
Most mobile phone users think that their lock screen is enough to prevent hackers from misusing their devices, but they are wrong. That’s why remote lock and track settings are essential to your efforts to protect your device from hackers.
If you don’t have remote lock and find my device features already installed on your device, just download and install the Google Find My Device app for Android.
Use security software on your device
Just as there are anti-malware and antivirus software for desktop devices, there are security tools for mobile devices. Most of these tools are freemium, so they allow you to access the basic service for free. However, we recommend upgrading to the premium version to get more security features and ensure full protection for your device.
Always use a VPN
The first thing people do when they find themselves in cafes, stores, hotels, etc., is pull out their phone and use public Wi-Fi to connect. You should avoid doing this and use cellular network data instead.
If you must use a public hotspot, make sure it is password protected. If you’re low on cellular data and need to connect to public Wi-Fi, use a secure VPN to reduce the risk of your data being stolen in transit.
Think before you install
Of course, the previous tips dealt with Android security in general. If you want to protect yourself from fake apps, you need to do something else. We are talking about the fact that you should never install apps without verifying them properly.
A simple Google search will help you find out if the app has been involved in any shady deals. A second step would be to verify the app provider. If it’s a legitimate company, the app will likely be safe to use.
It’s not that hard to keep your device away from prying eyes, but it does take some time, effort, and patience to master. However, the more you know about protecting your privacy across devices, the easier it will be to mitigate any risk of your device being hacked.