ANDROID owners have been warned against installing a variety of apps that harvest user information and apply it to scams.
The malware is buried in apps that seem harmless but wreak havoc on users and their devices.
The Russian cybersecurity firm Dr Web flagged danger written into the code of 28 different apps.
The dodgy apps have been installed almost 10million times according to the company’s report.
Many of the false apps take advantage of a hacking tool called a “trojan” – a malware program disguised as a real, functioning app.
10 of the dubious apps are masked as photo editors and many others offer display screen customization tools.
Dr Web’s report says that several of the apps gain access to intel by requesting permissions, which are granted by unsuspecting users.
The dangerous apps are also known to change their icons in order to blend in deeper and less noticeably into the phone’s display.
Some of the apps will turn their scam into profits by executing subscription-based toll fraud schemes.
Toll fraud scammers plug an Android phone with a malware program that autonomously scans the internet for subscription services and charges it to the user.
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Dr Web highlights the app Chat Online as a particularly devious scam.
The “dating app” launches a dialogue with the user and then offers the user premium access for a fee.
Once banking information has been turned over, the scam is in action – in this case, the user punches their own ticket to being ripped off.
Futurism notes that even after a flagged app is removed from the Google Play Store, it will remain on Android devices until the user deletes it.
Remember to vet the apps you use before freely downloading.
If an app has limited reviews or it’s the developer’s only product, then install with extreme caution or do not install at all.