When anti-virus / anti-malware mobile apps began hitting the market a handful of years ago, I couldn't have imagined wanting to install one. After all, who wants to install anything that will use up some of their phone's precious resources? Well, times have changed, as I'm starting to believe that those who download many apps - especially from unknown developers - should consider grabbing a protection app.
If you need a good reason, we can use Avast's brand-new example. The security firm recently investigated an issue involving a trio of apps that were available via the Google Play Store. Normally, even a shady app won't get that much attention, but these definitely did. In the case of an app for card game Durak, it was downloaded at least 5,000,000 times.
Even for a cautious user, there'd be no immediate reason to not trust this particular app. It looks genuine, and as time went on, the huge number of downloads could further bolster that genuineness. Even immediately after installing, the app's malware keeps calm.
According to Avast, this particular malware is as patient as they come, usually taking up to an entire month to rear its ugliest head. Once it does, users will be spammed with app advertisements every single time they unlock their device. A major problem here is, after a month, a user isn't likely to suspect that the Durak game (or the others) would be responsible. Instead, they'd start with their most recently installed apps, and that's bound to lead to some serious frustration.
It seems likely that even if you were to uninstall the app that introduced the malware to begin with, it'd still remain. And if Google's Play Store stats are accurate, it means that at least 5,000,000 people are dealing with this problem, or could soon. That's rather disgusting, especially when it's spawned from an official source of apps.
If you guessed that Avast itself offers some mobile security software, you'd be right on the money. While the company stands to gain from findings like this, it's a good thing that they're exposed. Google's done quite a bit to bolster the security of its Play Store over the years, but it's clear that not enough is being done.