Google Removes 13 Apps From Google Play Store, Citing Malware: Did You Download Any Of Them?

Over a dozen apps have been removed from the Google Play store after a security researcher discovered that the apps were harmful.

ESET's Lukas Stefanko posted about the 13 apps on his Twitter account on Nov. 19, telling followers that the apps—most of which are simulation games—contain malware. Approximately 560,000 people are thought to have downloaded the apps.

Don't install these apps from Google Play - it's malware.

-13 apps
-all together 560,000+ installs
-after launch, hide itself icon
-downloads additional APK and makes user install it (unavailable now)
-2 apps are #Trending
-no legitimate functionality

— Lukas Stefanko (@LukasStefanko) November 19, 2018

The apps included graphics that indicated simulations for driving a luxury car and a fire truck. All the apps were made by the same developer, Luiz O. Pinto.

While the apps were disguised as games, they did not work when users tried to load them in order to play on phones and tablets. Instead, the apps would repeatedly crash but were still able to install malware, NDTV reports.

App functionality demonstration

— Lukas Stefanko (@LukasStefanko) November 19, 2018

If you have downloaded one of the apps containing malware, Digital Trends recommends rebooting your phone in safe or airplane mode before visiting the app settings menu to uninstall the app. After that, users should install malware protection and check to see that any other apps aren't known to be utilizing malware.

Here is the full list of malicious Android applications:

Luxury Cars SUV Traffic
Car Driving Simulator
Extreme Car Driving Racing
Moto Cross Extreme Racing
SUV City Climb Parking
Extreme Car Driving City
City Traffic Moto Racing
Extreme Sport Car Driving
Hyper Car Driving Simulator
Truck Cargo Simulator
SUV 4x4 Driving Simulator
Firefighter - Fire Truck Simulator
Luxury Car Parking

This story has been updated to correct the name of Lukas Stefanko's company. It has also been updated with the list of malicious applications on the Play Store.