‘Google Play Is Infested With Counterfeit Apps,’ Says Trend Micro

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A report by Trend Micro, Global developer of cyber security solutions, says that Google Play now has trojanised versions of the most popular apps that are bound to steal user information, money as well as data. You are advised to be careful.

The developer company states that more than 77 percent of the top 50 apps on the Google Play store have repackaged or fake apps associated with them. The research points out that the creation of these apps is contributing to a rapid growth in mobile malware.

Repackaged apps use social engineering tactics, displaying similar user interface (UI), icon, package names and app labels as the legitimate or official version of the apps they have spoofed. This consequently tricks users into downloading fake apps that generate profit for cybercriminals.

“Sadly, we are seeing the trend towards fake mobile apps increase rapidly as cybercriminals realize that a profit can be made here. There is little relief from this explosion, even if users leave Google Play store because several third-party app stores distribute repackaged apps, some which are trojanised and some that have been modified to add malicious code,” says Gregory Anderson, country manager at Trend Micro South Africa.

Though it is difficult for app developers and stores to completely protect themselves from suffering the adverse effects of repackaging, they can use complex file encapsulation or encryption techniques to deter cybercriminals from repackaging their apps. App stores could implement strict rules and audit mechanisms with regard to making apps available for user download.

Staying protected from various mobile threats, including fake apps, download only from trusted sites such as official app stores. Using an effective security solution such as Trend Micro Mobile Security for Android Devices is also a step that should be taken.