Google’s Android is facing a tough battle against malware apps, and there seems no end in sight.
The two year study, conducted by researchers from the University of Sydney and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Data61, analyzed more than a million Android apps on the platform.
“We were able to find 2,040 potential counterfeits that contain malware in a set of 49,608 apps that showed high similarity to one of the top-10,000 popular apps in Google Play Store,” the study noted.
“We also [found] 1,565 potential counterfeits asking for at least five additional dangerous permissions than the original app and 1,407 potential counterfeits having at least five extra third-party advertisement libraries.”
Games Temple Run, Free Flow, and Hill Climb Racing were among the most commonly counterfeited.
To carry out the study, researchers designed a convolutional neural net to identify similarity in app icons, thereby proving that unsuspecting users can be fooled into downloading a fake app that has a similar image style and iconography.