Earlier this month, Lukas Stefanko, Malware Researcher at ESET, sent out a tweet saying the following: “Don't install these apps from Google Play - it's malware.” He went on to say that there were 13 applications involved, and that between them, they had been installed more than 560,000 times. He also attached a photo of the 13 apps, which all appeared to be car-related.
It is said that Google has since removed the 13 apps (all listed with the same developer, Luiz Pinto) from its Play store, unfortunately not before half a million users installed the malware-ridden apps.
What this tells us is that it is imperative that Google implement stricter protocols within its Play Store, as this is not the first time its experienced this. In 2017, 41 apps are were said to have been infected with an auto-clicking adware named Judy, and in that incident millions of Google users were affected. Admittedly, Google is aware of its need to try harder, and revealed early in 2018 that it had removed more that 700,000 malicious apps the prior year (2017); but clearly there is still work to be done. Users shouldn’t have to worry about malware being installed on their device, rather than the game or app that they wanted; they should be safe in any of the app stores.
We say any, because Google isn’t alone in this problem. Apple and Microsoft have also had malware-ridden apps in their stores. Microsoft had fake applications in its store as recently as October. In that scenario, users that downloaded the fake Google Photos app in the Microsoft store were instead downloading an app that tried to install malware on their device. In the case of Apple, they had a malware run-in from 344 infected applications that affected millions of Apple Store customers.
How to Avoid Malware:
- Educate employees on what to look for.
- Don’t use a work device to download any apps that are not business-critical and approved by IT.
- Don’t open any attachments from an unknown sender.
- Employ content scanning and filters.
- Install antivirus software.
- Perform updates regularly.
- Backup your data.
- Restrict privileges. Not every employee needs full access to everything.
Malware is running rampant in today’s world; so it is critical that you always remain vigilant in protecting your business from these threats. It may seem like it’s okay to be complacent at times, but as you can see, even app stores aren’t safe. Anywhere that hackers can find a place to put malware, they will. Educating your employees is the simplest, but also the most essential step to take in malware protection. In many cases when malware infects a system it was done so by an employee that wasn’t educated on how to handle unknown attachments or links, or whatever the circumstance may be.
How to Protect Your Business
Managing IT can be a burden, especially for small and mid-size organizations; that’s why many turn to a reputable managed cloud services provider for help. While the provider may not be able to help if you install a malware infected application on your personal device, Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) can help maintain and monitor the security of your business data, and assist in recovery in the event of an attack or breach. In today’s security climate, many are beginning to see the value in having their data protected from any type of disaster: natural, intentional, or otherwise.
Are you looking to protect your business’ critical data from the unknown? At DSM, Florida’s predictable cloud provider, we make sure that our clients data remains safe from any threat. If you have questions about cybersecurity and how DSM can protect your business, reach out. With the increase in data disasters, make sure that you are prepared for the worst.