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IT security researcher Bitdefender has detected 35 malware apps on Google Play Store that can infect a user’s phone. With more than 2 million downloads, these apps disguise themselves as settings apps. Once installed on a device, these apps start showing ads on users’ phones. They also undertake actions like creating shortcuts, showing multiple notifications and even blocking other app’s windows.

What makes them more dangerous is that these apps can change their name and icons themselves, making them more difficult to detect.

Google has reportedly removed many of these apps from the Google Play Store. In case a user is still using them, he/she must delete these apps from their smartphones right away.

Here’s the list of malicious apps

According to the report, these malware Android applications have been downloaded on 2 million devices- with download counts ranging from 10,000 to 100,000.

Some of these apps having about 1,00,000 downloads each are:

Walls light – Wallpapers Pack (gb.packlivewalls.fournatewren)

Big Emoji – Keyboard 5.0 (gb.blindthirty.funkeyfour)

Grand Wallpapers – 3D Backdrops 2.0 (gb.convenientsoftfiftyreal.threeborder)

Engine Wallpapers (gb.helectronsoftforty.comlivefour)

Stock Wallpapers (gb.fiftysubstantiated.wallsfour)

EffectMania – Photo Editor 2.0 (gb.actualfifty.sevenelegantvideo)

Art Filter – Deep Photoeffect 2.0 (gb.crediblefifty.editconvincingeight)

Fast Emoji Keyboard APK (de.eightylamocenko.editioneights)

Create Sticker for Whatsapp 2.0 (gb.convincingmomentumeightyverified.realgamequicksix)

Math Solver – Camera Helper 2.0 (gb.labcamerathirty.mathcamera)

Photopix Effects – Art Filter 2.0 (gb.mega.sixtyeffectcameravideo)

Led Theme – Colorful Keyboard 2.0 (gb.theme.twentythreetheme)

Animated Sticker Master 1.0 (am.asm.master)

Sleep Sounds 1.0 (com.voice.sleep.sounds)

Personality Charging Show 1.0 (com.charging.show)

Image Warp Camera

GPS Location Finder (smart.ggps.lockakt)

As mentioned above, Google has removed most of these apps from the Play Store. However, they are still available on multiple third-party app stores like APKSOS, APKAIO, APKCombo, APKPure, and APKsfull.

How to protect your Android phone from such apps

Taking a few preventative measures can avoid Android users falling victim to such malicious apps.

- Look for app permissions before downloading

- Check the user ratings of the app

- Always run the ;latest version of Android on your phone

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