Android is the world’s most popular operating system. More than 3 billion devices and growing are currently operating Android in some form. There’s a lot to love about it. It’s lightweight, flexible, and can work on both the most expensive flagship phones to budget offerings under $100.

Unfortunately, things aren’t all good in the world of Android. And while we don’t think it will make you want to jump ship and join Apple, it is something to pay attention to. We’re talking about the huge number of apps found infected in the Google Play Store. That means you may even have one malware on your phone and not even know it.

Understand this threat and what you can do to be safe below.

Google Play Store Malware Infection

Most of us are under the impression that if we download something from the Google Play Store, it should be safe. Google is part of this problem as they tell users that it’s much safer to download from it than other channels.

Recently, however, security researchers at Kaspersky discovered 20+ Minecraft Android apps that are malware in disguise. Even scarier is they’ve found that some of the app installs have topped out at over 1 million!

These fake apps pretend to be part of legit Minecraft modpacks. Once installed, the app icon disappears and will start loading a string of advertisements to play constantly while you use your phone. There’s also concern that these may be exporting user data. Worst of all, this is far from the first example of Play Store malware. Across so many different apps, hackers have managed to penetrate the store and put users at great risk.

What Should You Do?

The first thing is clear. You can’t always trust Google to keep you safe. While Google talks a big game about looking out for your best interest, they seem ill-prepared for actually doing so.

For this reason, we strongly advise you to take cybersecurity into your own hands because iOS honestly isn’t much better. Cybersecurity tools are a great way to protect yourself and secure your internet connection at the same time.

First and foremost, you need a VPN. VPN or virtual private networks anonymize your IP address and encrypt your internet connection, greatly enhancing your privacy and security. They are vital tools for mobile, desktop, and everywhere in your digital life.

As an added perk, high-quality VPNs like NordVPN aren’t just extremely secure but also have many other benefits like unlocking different streaming content and even helping you find deals shopping online. Next, you have to be extremely careful with any app you download.

No matter what awesome security tool you use, it might not help you if you just let the hackers in the front door! This is harder than it looks, unfortunately. Generally, you can be confident that apps from huge names like Facebook, Microsoft, or even Google will be safe. So, you always have to check who the developer is.

That doesn’t mean smaller developers are always risky. As the Minecraft malware shows, even apps with 1,000,000+ downloads can be dangerous. Instead, take some time to vet the app. Look online, read reviews, and use security tools that can scan apps for malware. This is the best way to make sure something is safe.

Finally, be careful about app permissions. There is no reason an app like a Minecraft mod needs to know your location at all times. That might be a sign of malware or just something trying to invade your privacy. Either way, regardless of who the developer is, it would be a good idea to limit permissions to apps.

Beware the Google Play Store

The Google Play Store is the number app delivery portal in the world. It just makes sense that hackers would target it.

Before you download any malware, start being careful, and vet all your apps. And if something does seem strange on your phone, then don’t risk it. It’s better to reset your phone and not take any chances of having a hacker get their hands on your data.

Stay safe and start keeping an eye out for these risks now.

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