Google Adds to Its Malware Woes with Yet Another Found in Google Play Store

News Malware Google Play Featured

At one point certain operating systems had a more difficult time with malware, and certain OS were considered nearly safe, but that is no longer the case. Every OS can be victim to malware, whether mobile, Windows, Mac, etc.

But what can make a difference is whether a tech company is willing to do more to help keep malware out and help keep its users safe. This seems to be a problem with the Google Play Store, with yet another “ordinary” app being labeled as malware being found.

Malware App Found in Google Play Store

Researchers with Symantec found an app that advertises it’s an unofficial version of Telegram to be a malware app. What this app, MobonoGram 2019, is really doing if you download it is throwing malware around.

MobonoGram uses open-source code of the actual Telegram app, but before it was published on the Google Play Store, it was injected with malware. Once it infects an Android device, it spreads the “Android.Fakeyouwon” malware, which loads malicious URL that it gets from a command-and-control server.

Sure, the app works as intended, as a basic messaging app, but it’s also running some services without the user’s knowledge on the device and is loading and browsing malicious websites in the background.

News Malware Google Play Android

Symantec detected and blocked 1,235 infections related to the malware between January and May, with most of the infections occurring in the United States, Iran, India, and the United Arab Emirates. It’s unknown how long it was available, but it was downloaded more than 100,000 times and updated five times before it was removed.

It’s still, remarkably, available on unofficial third-party app repositories.

Because Android is open source, it’s open to this type of thing more often, but that doesn’t mean Google can’t do anything to protect the Google Play Store more. It seems like there should be another vetting process, and then perhaps there wouldn’t be so many malware apps being found on the Google Play Store.

What Google does is encourage you to run Google Play Protect on your device to help you find the malware apps before you download them. But if they can develop software to help you determine whether something is safe, why can’t they determine that themselves before they put the app up on the Play Store?

What Does Google Need to Do?

Google did remove more than 700,000 apps last year, but if it was a solid process for catching malware, it wouldn’t need to release Google Play Protect. It’s doing some things, but it clearly needs to do more. It’s not enough to remove some malware and instruct users to download software so that they can keep themselves protected.

Have you ever downloaded malware from Google Play? What do you think the Google Play Store should do to eliminate malware? Add your ideas to the comments below.

2 comments

  1. ” Every OS can be victim to malware, whether mobile, Windows, Mac, etc.”
    Especially when it is designed to gather information on the user and send it home to mama. That kind of code is a built-in vulnerability which can be exploited by hackers and malware writers.

    “What do you think the Google Play Store should do to eliminate malware?”
    Google needs to vet any software being included in its Store rather than let anybody and everybody dump their crap in there. Does Google even look at the software that is being placed in its store?! When was the last time anybody reported downloading a malware-infested package from the official Linux or BSD repositories?

  2. You’re so right (once again 😏)!

Leave a Comment

Yeah! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic! Check out our comment policy here. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.