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Over 600 million downloads of malware occurred in 2023 from the Google Play Store

Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky has reported that Android users downloaded malicious apps over 600 million times in 2023. This is partly due to the large number of apps in the Play Store, making it impossible for even Google to thoroughly check each one. For example, the iRecorder app began as a legitimate application but was later updated to include malicious features, recording audio from the microphone at regular intervals and sending it to the app creator’s server.

Cybercriminals are also opening multiple developer accounts with Google to upload similar malware-laden apps to the Play Store. For instance, three apps, Beauty Slimming Photo Editor, Photo Effect Editor, and GIF Camera Editor Pro, were found to have the Fleckpe subscription Trojan and accumulated 620,000 installs.

Another alarming discovery was 35 million installs of Minecraft clone apps with adware, negatively affecting the battery life of the devices on which they were installed. Additionally, Kaspersky reported that 200 apps with SpinOk malware were downloaded 451 million times.

To protect against malware, it’s advised to read negative comments and low ratings in the Play Store and look for red flags such as reduced battery life, overheating, and device freezing. Users should also be cautious of spelling errors and grammatical mistakes in the app’s description.

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