According to a report from RiskIQ, the number of malware apps residing in the Google Play store has actually gone up quite significantly over a two-year span. The data found that more than 42,000 apps contained some form of malware (spyware or apps that swipe information) last year, up from just 11,000 a few years before. Google’s ecosystem has had a long and stories history of containing malicious software, and it appears the search giant’s effort to stomp out the fires have not been successful.
“The explosive growth of mobile apps has attracted a criminal element looking for new ways to distribute malware that can be used to commit fraud, identity theft and steal confidential data, said RiskIQ CEO Elias Manousos.
The most offending apps were designed to personalize a user’s device, while other gaming and entertainment apps were also found to contain malicious software. We’ve already seen reports of Flappy Bird clones containing malware, so the offending apps are hiding right under our noses. The worst part RiskIQ’s report, however, is that Google’s effort to remove such malicious apps is declining; 60 percent of malware was apparently removed from Google Play in 2011, while just a quarter of them were removed in 2013.
Some of the offending apps called out by RiskIQ include Finger Hockey, Wallpaper Dragon Ball and Subway Surfers Free Tips.