Over 20 million people have downloaded these shady Android apps

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  • According to new research, the Google Play Store has seen an increase in the number of suspicious activities in recent months.

Dr.Web discovered a large number of fake apps and trojans designed to sign victims up for paid services, as well as an alarming rate of spyware.

The report details the growing number of apps added to the company’s antivirus database, demonstrating the caution that Android users should exercise when browsing the Play Store.

A rewards-based setup has emerged as one of the most prevalent types of malicious Android apps in recent months.

To be able to access rewards of true monetary value, users have had to collect “millions” of rewards, and that’s before spending a significant amount of time, effort, and other resources attempting to obtain any tokens.

According to Dr.Web, users are incentivized to complete various tasks, such as installing, launching, and using other programmes and games, in order to receive a ‘virtual reward’. These tokens are then allegedly redeemable for real money or credit.

Among the most notable apps mentioned in the report is ‘Lucky Step-Walking Tracker,’ which has over 10 million downloads and an average rating of 4.2 stars from 643,000 reviews.

‘Lucky Habit: health tracker’ (5 million downloads, 193,000 reviews at 3.6 stars) and ‘WalkingJoy’ are also mentioned (5 million downloads, 227,000 reviews at 3.9 stars). None of these apps explicitly state in their respective Play Store descriptions that they provide financial incentives to users for completing tasks; however, they were discovered to reward users for reaching certain milestones (such as following healthy habits or walking a certain number of steps) and for watching advertisements, some of which promised to speed up the token unlocking process.

The functionality of ‘Lucky Step-Walking Tracker’ has since been removed, rendering the rewards virtually meaningless. Furthermore, all three apps were discovered to share the same server, indicating a common developer, implying that rewards for the other two could be pulled at any time. Dr.Web recommends that Android users instal its Android antivirus protection, but as a general rule, users should exercise caution when browsing online marketplaces.


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