Google Play Store removes 500 spying apps

Google Play Store contained 500 user-spying apps: here's what you need to know about them

Google Play Store took down 500 apps with Igexin ad SDK in them

Google Play Store once again proved that its security checks are nearly useless – scammers managed to upload over 500 spying apps on it[1]. According to the latest reports, the apps were removed from the store, but the apps have already surpassed 100 million downloads.

The majority of the spyware apps were available in popular categories such as weather apps, photo editors, educational, travel, games for teens, emoji and fitness. No matter that you can’t access and download the malicious applications anymore, your device may be compromised already (in case you installed one of the bad apps).

If you downloaded some vague apps lately, don’t hesitate and check your mobile device with a compatible security software ASAP.

Igexin ad SDK allowed scammers to spy on victims and install more malware

It turns out that the malicious apps contained an advertising software development kit dubbed Igexin[2]. This kit allowed criminals to remotely infect the devices with malware and snoop around for private victim’s information such as passwords and login details.

Igexin is a software created by a Chinese company that offers targeted advertising services to app developers. We must point out that app developers should not be blamed for the existence of the described spyware/malware as they are not in control of it. However, in some cases, they are aware of the existence of it.

Google keeps trying to create a better security system for Google Play Store

It seems that Google’s battle against malicious and spying ads won’t have an end. Speaking of dangerous apps and data breaches, the creators of iOS can be proud – while headlines scream about new malware in Google Play Store, the Apple Store attracts way less attention on the same topic.

Recently, the company introduced Google Play Protect[3]. The new system checks applications once the victim downloads them. On top of that, it regularly scans user’s smart device and informs about detected apps or removes them instantly. Hopefully, the new system will lower the number of Android viruses – at least we won’t see so many of them in Google Play Store.

Recently, the Google Play Store has been serving the following types of malware:

  • LeakerLocker virus[4];
  • Xavier virus;
  • BankBot Trojan;
  • Ztorg Trojan and many more.

Users should carefully inspect applications that they plan to install on their devices. Reading user feedback and comments online is simply a must. Beware of fake reviews that scammers might compose to trick unsuspecting users into installing the malware. team[5] suggests being suspicious about unknown apps – don’t be afraid to question everything about them.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

Olivia Morelli is News Editor at She covers topics such as computer protection, latest malware trends, software vulnerabilities, data breaches, and more.

Contact Olivia Morelli
About the company Esolutions