Researchers find over 2,000 malicious apps on Google Play store

Researchers at Australia's CSIRO urge more oversight from Google and discretion among Android users

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A study carried out by the Data61 division of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has found that users of the Google Play store must be careful of malicious apps on the platform.

According to a report, published in May, researchers discovered over 2,000 apps that either introduce malware onto a user’s device, or which require an alarming amount of personal information from users.

The report found that while the success of the Google Play store on Android IOS devices has seen remarkable success over the years, Google is faced with a difficult task of improving screening for the nearly 2.6 million apps available for download.

According to NeoWin, the researchers used neural networks and VirusTotal malware checks to screen the entire app store for suspicious markers.

Many malicious apps are designed to mimic the most popular apps on the platform, with similar logos and designs. When screened for knock-off apps, the research yielded 49,608 such fraudulent applications.

When screened for active malicious codes following download, the research found 7,426 potentially dangerous applications. Among those, the research determined that 2,046 were high risk applications.

Since the research was published, 35 percent of the malicious apps have been deleted, reports Computer World. However, the researchers are still calling on Google to improve oversight and the app approval process for the Google Play store.

Likewise, users should beware of copy-cat apps and apps that ask for excessive permissions, warn the authors.