There are a lot of apps available today. However, not all of them are safe to use. Some of them can be very dangerous and even cause harm to the users. In this article, we will discuss some of the most dangerous apps available on the internet and how they can affect your devices.
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Two potentially dangerous apps with a considerable number of downloads have been removed from Google’s Play Store, report cyber security experts Fox-IT (via BleepingComputer).
Mister Phone Cleaner and Kylhavy Mobile Security antivirus apps were collectively installed 60,000 times and their aim was to steal banking logins by installing an evolved version of the notorious SharkBot malware.
The apps initially made it to the app store because they did not contain any malicious code that would have caused Google to reject them. Mister Phone Cleaner and Kylhavy Mobile Security are dropper or helper apps, created to deliver malware to Android phones.
Once they were installed, users were prompted to install an update to stay protected against threats, which in effect was a way to install SharkBot on the victim’s phone.
Although these apps are no longer available on the Play Store, users who downloaded them previously must delete them from their phones or risk consequences.
SharkBot dropper apps want to steal banking info
SharkBot was first discovered in late 2021 and the first apps with it were found on the Play Store in March of this year. The mode of operation at that time was to steal information through keylogging, intercepting text messages, tricking users using screen overlay attacks into divulging sensitive info, or giving cyber criminals remote control of the infected device by abusing the Accessibility Services.
An upgraded version called SharkBot 2 was spotted in May and on August 22, Fox-IT stumbled upon version 2.25 which is capable of stealing cookies from bank account logins. The newly discovered apps with SharkBot 2.25 don’t abuse Accessibility Services and also don’t require the Direct Reply feature as these could have made it harder for them to get approved for the Play Store.
They instead ask the command-and-control servers to directly receive the Sharkbot APK file. After that, the dropper apps notify the user of an update and ask them to install the APK and allow the required permissions.
To avoid automated detection, SharkBot saves its hard-coded configuration in encrypted form.
Using the cookie logger, SharkBot siphons off valid session cookies when a user logs into their bank account and sends it to the command-and-control server. Cookies are valuable for threat actors because they help them evade fingerprinting checks and avoid the requirement of user authentication tokens in some instances.
The malware was capable of stealing data such as passwords and account balance from official banking apps. For some apps, it was able to avoid fingerprint logins.
SharkBot seems to be targeting users in Australia, Austria, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, the UK, and the US.
The developers are still hard at work improving the malware and Fox-IT expects more campaigns in the future.
To avoid falling prey to such apps, don’t download apps from unknown publishers, especially those that don’t seem to be popular and also go through reviews.
Which app is dangerous
1. ES File Explorer
This wildly popular file explorer app worked well five years ago when it first came out. Now, it’s fallen by the wayside. Download the free version and say hello to bloatware, like endless ads and reminders to download other apps.
You can’t even turn off these annoying pop-ups. Oh, and it gets worse. In 2019, Google threw this app off the Play Store for fraud. So check your phone for this app and delete it ASAP.
2. Dolphin Web Browser
Starry-eyed Android users can easily get swept away by Dolphin Browser’s promises. In reality, it doesn’t measure up. It’s supported by Flash, which Adobe discontinued a while ago.
It’s also a privacy nightmare with rampant tracking. Multiple reports say Dolphin Web Browser keeps records of everything you looked up while in incognito mode. So your browsing sessions aren’t private at all.
Plus, it reveals your original IP address even when you have a VPN turned on for privacy.
3. DU Battery Saver & Fast Charge
Once upon a time, this app had an eye-watering 7.6 million five-star reviews. People loved it because it saved their battery. Wait, sorry — it promised to save battery life, but it didn’t.
People fell for the placebo effect. Even worse, it puts ads on users’ lock screens and notification bars. Google Play Store kicked it out due to a scandal, but many users still have it on their phones. If you have it, delete it ASAP.
4. SuperVPN Free VPN Client
Android users love this app. But cybersecurity analysts say it has a ton of unpatched vulnerabilities.
Hackers can exploit this app’s many bugs to steal your info — including private photos and conversations. If you have banking apps, those are in danger as well. For the sake of your privacy, delete this app.
Free VPNs like SuperVPN Free VPN Client often come with a host of cybersecurity issues. Some will even sell your data for a profit, thus compromising your privacy.
5. S.M.T.H. (Send Me To Heaven)
This app is unique compared to the others on the list. It doesn’t fill your phone with ads or trackers. It could just kill your phone. The purpose of this app is to throw your phone in the air as high as you possibly can. Yep, that’s it.
As you can imagine, tons of devices have ended up in the digital graveyard thanks to this. Optimistic users downloaded this app, threw their phones into the sky and had to buy another phone.
If you have any of these apps on your smartphone, delete them now. Now that we’ve covered Android apps, it’s time to tackle the second half of our list of popular apps that are dangerous for iPhones. If you’re curious about the most harmful apps on iPhone, we’ve got you covered.
These five apps aren’t safe for iPhone
It’s hard to answer the question, “What is the most harmful app?” Many apps invade your privacy in many ways, so we’re writing this guide to some of the worst apps for privacy in 2022.
Smartphones can invade your privacy in many ways — don’t make it easy for Big Tech to steal your data by downloading these dangerous apps on your iPhone.
When you look up popular apps that are bad for your phone’s health, you’ll find plenty of results. We narrowed down the list to five popular iPhone apps you should not keep. They could put your security and privacy in jeopardy.
1. Words With Friends
Wordle lovers often look for similar games to jazz up their gaming. You may have come across this game. Don’t download it unless you’re cool with giving away your precise location.
We can’t help but wonder why this game needs your location — or what it’s doing with that data. If you’re looking for a Wordle replacement, here’s how to make custom puzzle games.
This helpful app lets you snap pictures and turn them into PDFs. It’s beneficial for anyone who wants to quickly share documents, ID cards and more. Last year, cybersecurity experts discovered it had contained hidden Joker malware.
3. Betternet VPN
As we mentioned earlier, free VPNs also come with privacy risks. They often make money by selling your data to third-party ad networks. Avoid this as well as TouchVPN, Hola VPN and more.
This Russian web browser is one of the most dangerous free browsers on iOS. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “What apps are invading your privacy?” or “What apps should you avoid for privacy?” you need to know about this.
Researchers with Trinity College Dublin found it has a big problem with data collection and sharing. Not only that, but its opt-out methods are “completely unreliable,” researchers say. They went a bit further and added that Yandex is not to be trusted on iPhone or any other device, for that matter.
5. Chicken Shoot Galaxy Invaders and 13 others
We’re ending our list of popular apps that are dangerous for Android and iPhone with a bang. If you love online games, you might have put yourself in danger a few years ago.
Apple booted some games from the App Store in 2019, but if you still play older games on your device, you should check your iPhone to make sure you’ve never downloaded any of these:
- Block Game
- Bomber Game: Classic Bomberman
- Bounce Classic Legend
- Brain It On: Stickman Physics
- Chicken Shoot Galaxy Invaders
- Classic Bomber: Super Legend
- Classic Brick – Retro Block
- Commando Metal
- Classic Contra
- Classic Tank vs Super Bomber
- Roy Adventure Troll Game
- Super Adventure of Maritron
- Super Pentron Adventure: Super Hard
- The Climber Brick
- Trap Dungeons: Super Adventure
How to Tell Useful Apps from Potentially Harmful Ones
It’s sometimes difficult to tell good apps from malicious ones. However, the one tell-tale sign that should always raise concern is the number of unnecessary permissions an app asks for. Does a flashlight app need your location permission? Does a cleaning app require camera and/or microphone access?
Is a photo-editing app asking for phone or SMS permissions? If they are, it’s best to steer clear of such software. While asking for additional permissions isn’t a definitive indication of a dangerous app, you should always do your research before installing them on your phone.
As a rule of thumb, it’s best to steer clear of cleaners, anti-viruses, RAM boosters etc., because they hardly offer any real-world performance improvements in most cases. Other apps one should be careful about are weather apps and scanner apps that can potentially collect sensitive location information and personally identifiable data from your phones.
And yes, many emoji apps and photo filter/editor apps are nothing more than glorified adware, if not worse. All said and done, it’s best to avoid apps that ask for a ton of permissions for things that are unrelated to their advertised functionality.
Make Android Safe by Staying Clear of These Apps
In spite of persistent efforts from Google, you can find thousands of risky apps on the Play Store, including malware, adware, spyware and bloatware. However, the aforementioned ones are among the most widely-used dangerous apps on Android, which is why they have made their way to our list. So if you have any of the above most dangerous Android apps on your phone, do uninstall it now and download an alternative instead.