Yes, it has happened again, apps have been found in Google Play loaded with malware. Google has removed 144 different music playing apps from Google Play that contain a new form of malware called Grabos. What makes this malware so devious is it monitors your phone activity and switches its function based on whether you are using the infected app or not. So, when you are paying attention the infected app acts as advertised, letting you download music for free. When you aren’t using the infected app, it sends information about your device, its specs, its location and the apps that are installed on it to the hacker’s server. This information is then used to create targeted notifications that prompt you to download and install additional malware loaded apps which are then opened without your consent.
To make sure as many people as possible are infected, the infected app constantly prompts you to rate it and offers you faster download speeds if you share it with friends.
Because of the prompts to rate these infected apps and their covert nature, many of them have a very high rating on Google Play. The most popular one, with over one million downloads, is called Aristotle Music Audio Player 2017. For a complete list of infected apps, check out McAfee’s blog post.
If one of these is on your phone, uninstall it and then check to make sure all the apps installed on your phone are apps that you installed and were not installed by the malware. It would also be a good idea to change the passwords on all your accounts that you can access from your phone.
Although these apps have been removed from Google Play, they can still be found and downloaded from other locations on the Internet. Reduce your risk, only download apps from reputable sources with good reviews.