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If your antivirus app is itself a virus

There was a plethora of so-called “antivirus” apps to be found in the Android Play­Store actu­ally serving to spread mal­ware. Google has now removed these apps – yet the risk remains.

Many mobile device owners know by now that Android smart­phones and tablets require virus pro­tec­tion in the shape of a suit­able app to keep them safe from mal­ware. Accord­ingly, there is a con­tin­u­ously increasing demand for such apps – some­thing Internet crim­i­nals have realised, too: More and more fre­quently, so-called antivirus apps are offered in the Google Play­Store which are actu­ally mal­ware themselves.

As reported by the techradar and Check Point Research plat­forms, Google has recently removed six dan­gerous antivirus apps for Android devices from their store. These apps had promising names such as “Antivirus, Super Cleaner” or “Center Secu­rity – Antivirus” and cor­re­sponding, seem­ingly rep­utable logos. All in all, they were down­loaded over 15.000 times.

Unfor­tu­nately, these six apps recently removed are no iso­lated cases: Time and again, dubious apps are appearing in Google’s Play­Store. Once installed, these infect mobile devices with mal­ware, for instance e-banking Tro­jans. In addi­tion, such fraud­u­lent apps are increas­ingly spread via e-mail, SMS or Mes­senger mes­sages, too.

This is how to pro­tect your­self and your Android devices:

  • You should gen­er­ally only ever install apps from the offi­cial store (Play­Store or AppStore).
  • Solely install antivirus apps by well-known man­u­fac­turers, and make sure that these are offi­cial apps by reviewing the number of times they were down­loaded and by checking their reviews.
  • Install just apps you actu­ally need, and de-install any apps you don’t need (any longer).
  • Restrict access rights for each respec­tive app to the absolute minimum.
  • Never use any link you receive via e-mail, SMS, Mes­senger ser­vice or scanned in via QR codes to log into a finan­cial institution’s or online ser­vice web­site, and treat any attach­ments to e‑mails and short mes­saging system with utmost caution.


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