iPhone Home Screen apps

Cybersecurity researchers discovered over 200 iOS and Android apps hiding malware built to steal your personal data and remotely control your phone. The apps, uncovered by Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) and the National Cyber Security Agency (NCSA), are disguised as free utility tools to trick users into downloading malicious software. 

As reported by Bangkok Post, the infected apps affect both iPhone and Android phone users, with the apps being spotted on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The DES and NCSA spotted 203 applications that store the info-stealing malware, including 4K Pro Camera, 4K Wallpapers Auto Changer, All Good PDF Scanner, Blood Pressure Checker, Beauty Filter, Creative Emoji Keyboard, Chat Ext SMS, Password Manager, and more. These apps are available around the globe.

DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn warned if users download the apps, “hackers can steal your personal data or takes control of your phones.” In a Facebook post (translated via Google Translate), the ministry notes that people have been affected by the dangerous apps, with the attackers stealing money from a “wide range of people.” To keep your personal information safe, you’ll want to ensure you don’t have these apps on your phone.

Delete these malicious apps

The DES and NCSA compiled a list of the malicious apps via their Facebook page. Check part of the list below to see if your phone has any of these apps.

List of malware apps
List of malicious apps with malware via Ministry of Digital Economy and Society

The ministry asked Google and Apple to remove the apps from both iOS and Android app stores, but it isn’t certain if these applications have been taken down yet. Regardless, users with any of the apps listed should delete them now.

iPhone and Android phones are no strangers to malware spreading through malicious apps. Hackers often use free and helpful utility tools, such as PDF readers and password managers, to hide malicious software, as these can generate millions of downloads. It’s always a good idea to watch out for suspicious-looking apps on the App Store and Play Store, especially if they’re free. Just because they have millions of downloads doesn’t mean they are trustworthy.

Stay away from suspicious apps

Apple and Google claim to offer advanced security to keep malicious apps from making their way onto the app store, but hackers still find ways to sneak through the cracks. One way to ensure an app is secure is by looking at user reviews. If an app has many one-star reviews, with people commenting on how their phones are affected, it’s best to find another app to download.

Many malware-infested apps will also be plagued with ads, stopping users from using the app’s function. Moreover, these ads could lead to harmful websites and even pop up randomly on your phone once the app is downloaded. If this happens, you’ll want to delete the app as soon as possible.

Malware can take up processing power and use your phone’s resources, causing it to perform slower than usual and have its battery life drain faster. This is another sign that your smartphone has been affected, and if this happens after just downloading an app, then it’s likely the application is hiding malware.

There are several ways cybercriminals can infect your phone with malicious software, whether it’s through hacking your phone through texting or using a PDF file to spread a virus. Antivirus software is the best way to ensure your device is secure. Cybersecurity services such as McAfee or Norton can scan your device and remove malware, and can even make you aware of known threats. Check out how to find the best antivirus software for you.

Darragh Murphy
Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from the mischievous world of online security to washing machines designed for earbuds. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for laptops into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. When he's not checking out the latest devices and all things tech, he can be found swimming laps, watching terrible shark movies, and trying to find time to game.  Previous Editor at Laptop Mag and News Editor at Time Out Dubai, specialising in food culture, nightlife events, gaming, tech and entertainment.

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