100% Increase In Malware Installed From Google Play Store Last Year

Apr 2, 2019

google-play-storeCovering malware trends in 2018, in its annual Android security report, Google has revealed that malware installed from Google Play grew by 100 percent last year.

Click-fraud apps, also called “adware” accounted for 55 percent of all Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs) installed through the Play Store, followed by Trojans at 16 percent, Google said in its report on Monday.

Click-fraud apps mostly targeted users in the USA, Brazil, and Mexico.

Previously, Google treated click-fraud apps as a mere Play Store policy violation. The company contends that if it removed click-fraud stats, it would show PHAs installed from the official store declined by 31 percent year over year, ZDNet reported.

In addition, 28 percent of malware outside the Play Store were backdoors, while 25 percent were trojans, 22 percent were hostile downloads and just 13 percent were accounted for click-fraud apps.

About PHA installs from outside the Play Store, Google claims Android’s Google Play Protect anti-malware system prevented 1.6 billion PHA installation attempts last year and stopped 73 percent of PHA installs from outside the store, marking a 20 percent improvement.

Google attributes the dominance of trojans outside the store to the “Chamois” family of malware, which are often pre-installed on popular Android devices from certain original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

The backdoor apps mostly targeted Android users in Russia, Brazil, Mexico, and Vietnam, Google said.