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Android users: Delete these apps, they are stuffed with malware

35 apps were discovered to contain malware.

Google play store logo with blurred background on android
Image: KnowTechie

A new report from Bitdefender says there are another 35 malicious apps on the Google Play Store. If you have any of these malware-containing apps, it’s time to delete them.

These apps are particularly sneaky. Once installed, they change their name and app icon, so it’s harder to find and delete them. Bitdefender says many of them try to hide as the default Settings app.

The malware inside serves ads to you. Lots and lots of ads. Those ads come from untrusted sources, so they can give you even more malware. That’s worrying, but we’ll break down the ones you need to delete.

Delete these 35 Android apps

Android smartphone on a deskmat with a dinosaur barfing a rainbow on it
Image: KnowTechie

Here’s the full list, courtesy of Bitdefender (via Tom’s Guide), and the number of times they were downloaded. They might use a different icon or name on your device, so look for anything out of place.

  • Walls light – Wallpapers Pack: 100K+
  • Big Emoji – Keyboard: 100K+
  • Grad Wallpapers – 3D Backdrops: 100K+
  • Engine Wallpapers – Live & 3D: 100K+
  • Stock Wallpapers – 4K & HD: 100K+
  • EffectMania – Photo Editor: 100K+
  • Art Filter – Deep Photoeffect: 100K+
  • Fast Emoji Keyboard: 100K+
  • Create Sticker for Whatsapp: 100K+
  • Math Solver – Camera Helper: 100K+
  • Photopix Effects – Art Filter: 100K+
  • Led Theme – Colorful Keyboard: 100K+
  • Keyboard – Fun Emoji, Sticker: 50K+
  • Smart Wifi: 10K+
  • My GPS Location: 10K+
  • Image Warp Camera: 100K
  • Cat Simulator: 50K+
  • Smart QR Creator: 10K+
  • Colorize Old Photo: 500+
  • GPS Location Finder: 100K
  • Girls Art Wallpaper: 10K+
  • Smart QR Scanner: 50K+
  • GPS Location Maps: 100K
  • Volume Control: 50K+
  • Secret Horoscope: 10K+
  • Smart GPS Location: 10K+
  • Animated Sticker Master: 100K
  • Personality Charging Show: 100K
  • Sleep Sounds: 100K
  • QR Creator: 10K+
  • Media Volume Slider: 10K+
  • Secret Astrology: 10K+
  • Colorize Photos: 10K+
  • Art Girls Wallpaper HD: 100K+
  • Phi 4K Wallpaper – Anime HD: 50K+

Again, delete all and any of these apps ASAP. With hundreds of thousands of total downloads, these apps are on a bunch of devices so double-check yours.

Best practices for avoiding Android malware

Not every piece of Android malware gets caught by the Play Store filters. There are some things you can do to keep yourself safe, even when Google fails to do so.

Things like avoiding any messaging app that isn’t one of the well-known names. Seriously, especially any that get sent to you by someone in your contacts and any with a download link outside of the Play Store.

Messaging apps are particularly dangerous because they routinely ask for SMS access. This is bad because this is where your two-factor authentication codes get sent.

When installing a new app, take a second to consider if the permissions it asks for are appropriate for the type of app. Things like a PDF app asking for microphone access or SMS access. If anything feels odd, don’t grant the permissions and delete the app.

Reading the reviews for any unknown app is also a good idea. Look out for many one-star reviews or reviews that say “doesn’t work” or similar. Those are almost always scams of some kind.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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