Android warning

In the last few months, a lot of dangerous applications have surfaced in the Play Store (Image: Getty • Google)

Android users should now check their phones.

A warning was issued earlier this month that the Google Play Store has 10 antivirus apps filled with dangerous malware, spyware and questionable permissions. Security research firm VPNpro released a report claiming that these apps totaled a whopping 1.9 billion downloads.

Why exactly are these apps so bad? According to VPNpro, the programs used the authorizations agreed during the setup process to collect and sell a user's personal information. It has also been pointed out that malware can also be distributed with these permissions.

Even more worrying was the fact that some of the apps in question required payment before they could be deleted.

VPNpro has also found five other apps that are said to be just as vicious and have over 500 million downloads at the same time.

Here is a complete list of dangerous apps listed by the security company. If you have one on your phone, it is recommended that you delete it immediately.

• Security Master – Antivirus, VPN, AppLock, Booster | 500 million installations

• Virus Cleaner, Antivirus, Cleaner (MAX Security) | 50 million installations

• Antivirus Free 2019 – Virus, Cleaner | scan and remove 10 million installations

• 360 Security – Free Antivirus, Booster, Cleaner | 100 million installations

• Virus Cleaner 2019 – Antivirus, Cleaner & Booster | 50 million installations

• Super Phone Cleaner: virus cleanup, phone cleanup | 50 million installations

• 360 Security Lite – Booster, Cleaner, Applock | 50 million installations

• Super Cleaner – Antivirus, Booster, Telephone Cleaner | 100 million installations

• Clean Master – Antivirus, Applock & Cleaner | 1 billion installations

• Super Security – Antivirus, Booster & AppLock | 10 million installations

• Antivirus Free – Virus Cleaner | 50 million installations

• Antivirus Free 2019 – Virus Cleaner | 1 million installations

• Antivirus Android | 1 million installations

• Antivirus & Virus Cleaner | 10 million installations

• Antivirus Mobile – Cleaner, phone virus scanner

While most of the apps listed above have been removed from the Play Store, some remain, such as: Security Master – Antivirus, VPN, Applock, Booster, on the Google Marketplace.

However, do not think that's all, as Google Android alerts have become more prevalent lately.

Earlier this month, Secure-D's research team informed users of a free keyboard that was said to be able to purchase premium digital services without user permission.

The keyboard, named ai.type Free Emoji Keyboard, has been downloaded more than 10 million times before being removed from the Google Play Store in June. However, the app will still be able to perform malicious behavior if left on user devices.

Last month, ESET researchers also identified 42 apps from the Google Play Store that contain malicious adware that can drain a user's battery life, data, and personal information.

Android warning

These are just some of the apps Android users have recently been asked to delete (Image: WeLiveSecurity)

As a reminder, adware is software that displays or downloads promotional material, usually without the consent of the user and sometimes without his knowledge.

In a blog post, the malware researcher Lukas Stefanko stated that every app was removed from the Google Store. However, some apps can still be downloaded to third-party app marketplaces.

Overall, the 42 apps have been downloaded eight million times.

Stefanko called 21 of the apps in question and listed the package names of the other 21 in a blog post.

Android warning

Google is stepping up its Play Store security with a new partnership called the App Defense Alliance (Image: Getty)

They should be:

• Smart gallery

• SaveInsta

• Mini Lite for Facebook

• Free Radio FM Online

• Free video downloader

• Free Social Video Downloader

• File Downloader

• drink water memory

• Smart notes for you

• DU recorder

• classic tank

• Heroes jump

• Solucionario

• Ringtone maker

• Video Downloader

• Ringtone Maker Pro

• Basketball perfect shot

• HikeTop +

• MP4 video downloader

• Flat music player

• Free Top Video Downloader

Android warning

Android users should search the reviews for specific apps before downloading them (Image: Getty)

And there we are still not finished. Already in September, two more apps were discussed in a safety report by Wandera – each one should be filled with adware.

The duo, known as the Sun Pro Beauty Camera and Funny Sweet Beauty Camera, has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times by Android users around the world.

The duo should not only be filled with adware, but continue to run in the background – even if the link is uninstalled.

Even more worrying was the fact that they each had a permission to "record audio at any time without user confirmation".

These dangerous apps have since been removed from the Google Play Store. However, it is worthwhile to search the phone to see if they are installed.

Google is certainly aware that a host of dangerous apps are being compromised by the latest protection mechanisms.

However, it appears that Mountain View is actively working to alleviate the problem with creating the App Defense Alliance.

Google announced last week that it has partnered with ESET, Lookout and Zimperium to tackle bad actors in its Android ecosystem.

The American company said the Defense Alliance app is "working to ensure the security of the Google Play Store" by "quickly finding potentially harmful applications and preventing them from being published".

Google continued, "As part of this alliance, we are integrating our Google Play Protect discovery systems into each partner's scanning engine. This generates new app risk information when apps are queued for publishing. The partners will analyze this data set and act as another important visual treat before an app is live in the Play Store. "

Although Google updates the Play Store defense itself, users can take a number of measures to avoid dangerous apps.

Express.co.uk recently talked with McAfee Chief Scientist and Fellow Raj Samani about how individuals can protect their phone from malware and other harmful items.

He said, "We urge Android users to continue to conscientiously download apps to their device. Always check credibility based on feedback from other users to verify potentially dubious apps, and above all, make sure your cybersecurity solution protects your mobile device as well. "