At least 172 malicious Android apps have been downloaded some 335 million times from the Google Play store recently. Forty-eight of those apps had so-called adware. With that software, unwanted advertisements are shown.
The well-known malware researcher Lukas Stefanko of antivirus company ESET reports this on Twitter. The 48 apps mentioned above were downloaded 300 million times in September alone.
It didn’t stop there. According to Stefanko, there was a form of subscription fraud hidden in 15 of those apps. These apps try to trick users by letting them take out a subscription that they don’t know they pay monthly for it. The 15 apps were downloaded 20 million times.
Incidentally, this form of fraud was also discovered in May of this year with the Voice Recording Free app. Once you have installed the app, you will be asked to start the free trial subscription. If you do not cancel this subscription within three days, you will receive a bill of $230 and that happens monthly. If you do not realize that the money is being debited, the bill can go sky-high.
The security researcher discovered a total of 172 apps that involve some form of scam. In addition to the adware and subscription apps, apps were also found with various kinds of phishing.
Several media also reports that the number of downloads is even higher since malware was recently discovered in the popular Android app CamScanner. This app itself had already been downloaded a hundred million times. CamScanner has since been deleted.
However, Google is not standing still and has removed almost every app from the Play store.