The number of corona virus-related apps on the Google Play Store has increased significantly in the past few weeks as both legitimate developers and cyber criminals are trying to benefit from users' fears about the virus.
By analyzing Android telemetry data, security researchers at Bitdefender have seen a huge surge in applications that contain either the "Covid" or "Corona" of the world. The company identified a total of 579 apps whose keywords contained corona virus-related keywords.
According to Bitdefender, 560 of these apps were legitimate and provided users with Corona virus news, infection prevention information, and medical booking services. However, many of these apps had nothing to do with the corona virus, while others contained adware or were bundled with malware.
After the coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the WHO, Google began to adapt Google Play's search algorithms to filter or remove illegal coronavirus apps.
When Bitdefender published its report on this subject, 22 apps with the keyword "Coronavirus" were still available in the Google Play Store and were listed under the "Health and Fitness" and "Medicine" categories. While many of these apps are legitimate, 280 others have been removed from the store, including many regional or global corona virus tracking apps.
When examining coronavirus apps in third-party marketplaces, Bitdefender found that many of these were malicious and took advantage of people's fear of the virus to spread adware and malware on users' Android devices to install.
One such example is an app that mimics a coronavirus information page to spread the Anubis Banking Trojan. Once a user installs the app and gives them access to their device, they request and accept a number of other permissions themselves. The app takes users to a coronavirus statistics website to throw them off the track and hide their icon, while she continues her work in the background.
The Iranian corona virus app AC1
An app called Coronavirus Tracker was also found to distribute adware to its victims. When first launched, the app indicates that it is not available in a user's country and then hides. However, it then bombards users with unwanted ads. Bitdefender researchers even found that the joker malware was spread by a game called iFun.
Liviu Arsene, Senior E-Threat Analyst at Bitdefender, warned in his report that users need to be extra careful when installing new apps during this difficult time. Proverb:
“In the coronavirus pandemic, anyone can search for information and search for applications that offer live monitoring or even medical appointments for testing. It is always recommended to only install official apps from official marketplaces and only get information from official sources. It is also important to ensure that you have a mobile security solution that protects you and your device from malware and other online threats. “