Google Play Store puts millions of apps at your disposal for any and all tasks. However, with reward comes risk as some of these apps are flagged as malicious as they contain dangerous code, stealing user data, breaching privacy and more. Although Google rigorously monitors apps with its Play Protect promise, some of them can slip under the radar. These apps, when downloaded on your smartphone can, not only steal your data, but also potentially put your financial information at risk, leave your phone exposed to hacks and even brick your phone, leaving you a worthless and over-expensive paperweight.
According to a recent report, Synopsys Cybersecurity Research Center (CyRC) has flagged 3 Google Play Store apps with vulnerabilities which could give attackers access to execute arbitrary commands on your phone. All 3 apps are remote mouse and keyboard apps which allow a user to use a mouse or a keyboard with the phone by connecting to a server.
1. Lazy Mouse
3. PC Keyboard
All 3 apps are very popular as they have over 2 million downloads combined on the Google Play Store. The report states, "CyRC research uncovered weak or missing authentication mechanisms, missing authorization, and insecure communication vulnerabilities in the three apps. An exploit of the authentication and authorization vulnerabilities could allow remote unauthenticated attackers to execute arbitrary commands."
Therefore, if you have any of these apps installed on your smartphone, remove them immediately.
Now, while there is no sure way to know which apps are unsafe on the Google Play Store, there are some signs you can watch out for.
1. See the app permissions
With the new Android updates, whenever you download any app, it asks you for various permissions depending on its purpose. For example, a photo editing app might request access to your storage space, camera, microphone and photo gallery. However, you should always keep an eye out for any app asking for unusual permissions such as access to your personal information, contacts and more.
2. Check the reviews
Always check the app reviews before downloading it. People post app reviews based on their user experience.
3. See the number of downloads
Any app that is potentially harmful might have only a handful of downloads. So, only download apps which have already been downloaded a respectable number of times. However, with these 3 apps, this too can be a concern as they were downloaded many times as mentioned above.
4. Read the app description
Google Play Store provides an app description along with information about the app creator. You can click on the developer’s name to see a list of other apps they have developed. Therefore, only install apps from trustworthy sources.
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