Fake Apps Alert
The Android OS developed by Google is facing a fierce battle against malware and fake apps. In fact, in the recent study by UoS and CSIRO there are still thousands of malicious applications in the Play Store.
Fake Apps: Latest Research
According to the latest research, the Google Play Store is full of thousands of fake applications and games that are copied by malware. In the two-year study conducted by researchers from the University of Sydney and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Data61 has analyzed more than one million Android applications currently circulating in Google Playstore.
The findings resulted in in an alarming amount. From this scan, 7,246 applications have been marked as malicious applications and 2,040 of them are high-risk fake applications, which even managed to look similar with one of the top 10 thousand popular applications on the Play Store.
“We also found 1,565 potential forgery asking for at least five additional dangerous permits from legitimate applications and 1,407 potential forgery to have at least five additional third-party ad libraries,” said the study quoted from The Next Web on Tuesday (25/06/2019).
According to reports, Temple Run, Free Flow, and Hill Climb Racing games are the most frequently faked apps. To conduct the research, the researchers designed a convolutional neural net to identify similarities in application icons. Unsuspecting users can be fooled into downloading fake applications that have similar icons.
After scouring through a million applications in Play Store, they download APK files and group them based on application categories and visual similarities shared by the application. They also take into account text descriptions tracing 10,000 of the most popular applications on the Play Store.
The multi-modal embedding machine learning model found 49,608 false potentials. Applications identified were then examined using a private API from VirusTotal, an online malware analysis tool that Google acquired in 2012.
Google’s Effort to Intervene with Fake Apps Distribution
The good news is that numerous malicious applications have been deleted. The Google team claims the number of rejected application submissions increased 55 percent compared to last year.
While suspended applications increased to 66 percent. Google might tighten the circulation of applications in its application store, given that it is quite often that security software researchers find malicious applications on Google PlayStore.