Update July 29th: We have provided a complete list of apps that you need to delete from your Android device.
Another batch of malicious apps full of adware and malware managed to get past Google’s defenses and land on the Play Store.
To trick unsuspecting users into downloading them, these 36 malicious apps pose as photo editors, virtual keyboards, system optimizers, wallpaper changers, and other useful tools.
While these apps promise to add new features to yours Android smartphonethey actually run intrusive ads, subscribe users to premium services, and instead steal social media accounts, according to Beeping computer (opens in new tab).
The malicious apps were discovered by security researchers antivirus software manufacturer dr Web, who gave further insights into each of the individual apps in a new report (opens in new tab).
Even though Google has removed most of these bad apps from Play Store, you still have to uninstall them manually if you have any of them on your Android devices.
Delete these Android apps: Complete list
- Image editing: beauty filters
- Image editing: retouching & cropping
- Photo Editor: Art Filters
- Photo Editor – Design Maker
- Image editing & background eraser
- Photo and exif editor
- Photo editor – filter effects
- Photo Filters & Effects
- Image editing: blur image
- Image editing: cut, paste
- Emoji Keyboard: Stickers & GIF
- Neon Theme Keyboard
- Neon Theme – Android Keyboard
- cashe cleaner
- FastCleaner: Cashe cleaner
- Call Skins – Caller Themes
- Weird caller
- CallMe phone themes
- InCall: Contact background
- MyCall – Personalization of calls
- caller theme
- caller theme
- Funny wallpapers – live screen
- Auto changer for 4K wallpapers
- NewScrean: 4D Wallpapers
- wallpapers and backgrounds in stock
- Notes – reminders and lists
Adware apps that keep running in the background
Adware apps are not only annoying, but they can also quickly drain your smartphone’s battery, since many of them are designed to continue running in the background even after you close them.
The one from Dr. Web detected are actually modifications of existing adware families that first appeared on the Play Store in May of this year.
These adware apps can also run on top of other apps since they request permission to use overlay windows during installation. However, they can also keep running in the background by adding themselves to the battery saver exclusion list in Android.
To make matters worse, many of these adware apps also provide the ability to hide their app icons in the app drawer or replace them with another icon resembling a core system component such as “SIM Toolkit”.
Of these adware apps, Neon Theme Keyboard by Nataļja Kokorevičs (which was still available on the Play Store at the time of writing) stands out as it has over a million downloads despite a terrible score of 1.8 based on 4,000 reviews . Fortunately, however, Google Play Protect seems to have started warning users about the app based on reviews from the Play Store.
Joker apps that users subscribe to premium services
The researchers from Dr. Web also found malicious apps on Play Store infecting users’ devices with the notorious Joker malware.
These apps are particularly dangerous as this malware strain has the ability to register victims Premium Subscription Services without her knowledge. Unfortunately, two of the malicious apps in Dr. Web (Water Reminder – Tracker & Reminder by YPC Dev and Yoga – For Beginner to Advanced by ALHASSAN) are still available for download and have yet to be removed from the Play Store.
Although both apps actually offer the functionality described in their Play Store listings, they also perform malicious actions in the background.
Photo editing apps that steal your Facebook account
With your Facebook account hacked can be devastating, especially when it a Facebook business accountwhich is why two of the researchers led by Dr. Malicious apps detected on the web must be uninstalled immediately.
These two apps (YouToon – AI Cartoon Effect and Pista – Cartoon Photo Effect) disguise themselves as photo editing tools that can apply cartoon filters to regular images and have been downloaded over 1.5 million times from the Play Store.
Both apps are designed to steal data from your Android smartphone, which you can use to hack into your Facebook account.
Protect yourself from malicious apps in the Play Store
To avoid intrusive ads, subscribing to premium services against your will or stealing your social media accounts, you should first go through the above list to make sure that none of these malicious apps are installed on your Android smartphone or tablet.
If this is the case, remove them immediately and consider using one of the best antivirus apps for Android to scan for any viruses that may be left behind.
At the same time, you should also avoid Installing apps from unknown sources and download them from official stores like Google Play Store, Amazon App Store or Samsung Galaxy App Store instead.
After all, you should take care of it Google Play Protect is active on your devices as it regularly scans for malicious apps and warns you if you try to install one.