Items tagged with Play Store

Android app developers take note, Google is implementing new guidelines for how apps can be displayed and advertised in the Play Store. The new policies are aimed at preventing apps from misleading Android users with certain buzz words and graphics, like plastering a "Sale" banner across the app's icon in the Play Store, as well as other changes. It's a noble effort, given how big and expansive the Play Store has become. Back in 2008 when the Play Store launched, there only existed a few hundred apps and games. Google points out there are now millions of apps and games, which stretch to Android users in over 190 countries. This makes it more challenging for developers to maker their apps stand... Read more...
In November, Apple announced that it would reduce its App Store fees to 15 percent for the first $1 million in yearly revenue for developers following pressure from Epic Games. Like Apple before its policy change, Google took a 30 percent cut of digital goods sold through its app marketplace. Today, Google announced that it would take the same approach as Apple with lower fees in the Play Store. Starting on July 1st, "99% of developers globally that sell digital goods and services with Play will see a 50% reduction in fees," said Sameer Samat, Google VP for Product Management. "These are funds that can help developers scale up at a critical phase of their growth by hiring... Read more...
A barcode scanning app for Android with more than 10 million downloads under its belt has been found to be the culprit of unwanted ads and pop-ups when using the default browser. This was not the case prior to the developer dishing out an update in early December. But for some stupid reason, years of goodwill went right down the toilet when the app went from "an innocent scanner to full on malware." The app is called Barcode Scanner, developed by Lavabird LTD. It has been available in the Google Play store for several years, where it amassed millions of downloads and a slightly better than 4-star rating out of nearly 80,000 votes. It was described as a "powerful QR code reader and barcode generator... Read more...
App stores are imperfect places, and serving as a reminder of this, a cybersecurity firm based in France alerted Google to the discovery of over two dozen malicious Android apps hanging out in the Play Store. Fortunately, Google was quick to banish the apps. However, if you already have any of them installed, you should wipe them from your phone or tablet right away. In this case, the apps are prone to stealing your Facebook login credentials. "When an application is launched on your phone, the malware queries the application name. If it is a Facebook application, the malware will launch a browser that loads Facebook at the same time. The browser is displayed in the foreground which makes you... Read more...
Security researchers are warning of a rise in "fleeceware" scams, a relatively new term that recently entered into the lexicon of security experts. It is a growing problem in the Play Store, whereby Android users end up being charged "excessive amounts of money for apps" for failing to cancel a subscription before a short trial period expires. On the surface, this sounds like an issue that has more to do with user negligence than anything else, but a closer look reveals that several app publishers are abusing the app subscription business model for financial gain. Part of the problem has to do with what constitutes a cancellation. Simply uninstalling a subscription-based app is not enough in... Read more...
Epic Games had hoped Google would reconsider taking less than a 30 percent cut from in-game app purchases if it were to make its highly popular Fortnite game available in the Play Store, but Google took a pin to the developer's balloon and said in no uncertain terms it is not going to happen—the rate would be 30 percent, just as it is for every other developer. There are exceptions to that rate, but mainly for subscription services. Netflix and Hulu, for example, are both subjected to a 15 percent royalty. Those and other similar apps primarily deal with subscriptions, though, which is why they qualify for the reduced rate. Fortnite, on the other hand, rakes in piles of cash through in-game... Read more...
Earlier this week, Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon 865 Mobile Platform, which alongside the Snapdragon X55 will power next year's flagship 5G Android smartphones. While the chip itself got the bulk of the attention, Qualcomm made another announcement that has huge implications for the mobile sector. Qualcomm announced that it will soon start delivering updates for its Adreno GPUs via the Google Play Store. This is huge news for smartphones, as GPU drivers typically are only updated once a year -- when a major Android release comes down (if at all). And even then, many OEMs don't even bother putting in the effort to ensuring that mobile GPUs are running current drivers from Qualcomm. With... Read more...
Mobile users can mitigate the risk of falling prey to malware by only downloading apps from reputable app stores. The Play Store is one of them, and it is the largest around for Android, though the risk is not by any means non-existent. Google realizes this, and has forged an App Defense Appliance with ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium. Part of the ongoing problem with the Play Store is its sheer size makes it an attractive target for miscreants, as well as the number of Android devices in the wild. According to Google, the Android ecosystem consists of more than 2.5 billion devices, most with access to the Play Store. This has led to a proliferation of malware in the Play Store, as we have reported... Read more...
Malware has been a common problem within the Google Play Store, and two apps that have run a malicious adware scheme have been the latest to get the boot. The apps have been raking in the cash for their authors, but have consequently been putting the people who have downloaded them through living hell. The first of the app is called Sun Pro Beauty Camera, and it amassed over 1 million downloads since it first appeared on the Play Store. The second app, Funny Sweet Beauty Camera, which was created by the same developer, garnered in excess of 500,000 downloads. Not only would the apps display intrusive ads that were hard or nearly impossible to close out (even when the apps in question were... Read more...
There's trouble brewing in the Google Play Store... again. This time the threat comes from CamScanner, which for quite some time has been a popular app that allows Android users to create PDF documents using optical character recognition (OCR) technology. The app was developed by Chinese firm CC Intelligence. However, in recent weeks, it appears that CamScanner has taken a turn for the worse, and has unleashed a malware campaign on unsuspecting Android users. CamScanner had previously used in-app ads and in-app purchases for its monetization efforts, but recent versions of the app have included a new advertising library tainted with a trojan. The malicious module has been identified... Read more...
We've simply grown accustomed to reading about Android malware on a regular basis, but this latest entry is both intriguing and incredibly dastardly in its deeds. Called Agent Smith, this malware has already infected 25 million Android devices globally with adware. Of those 25 million devices, India has been hit the hardest, taking the brunt of the attacks with 15 million infected devices. Agent Smith, which was first observed in the wild by Check Point Research earlier this year, has been coursing through the Google Play Store. After monitoring the its attack vector, Check Point Research was able to summarize Agent Smith's modus operandi into three parts. First, the malware lurks in... Read more...
It is often recommended that one of the best ways to avoid malware on mobile devices is to stick with established, reputable app stores. The two big ones are Google's Play Store and Apple's App Store, for Android and iOS, respectively. But is this a foolproof way to avoid malware? The answer is no, according to a two-year study. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Sydney and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization's Data61. It focused solely on Android apps in the Play Store. The researchers found that counterfeit apps impersonating popular legitimate apps have become so sneaky that even a tech-savvy user might struggle to detect that something is... Read more...
Google has removed over two dozen malicious Android apps from the Play Store that were collectively downloaded millions of times. The apps, which went to great lengths to appear legitimate, sent users pornographic content, redirected them to phishing websites, and collected photos under the guise of applying filters to them. The three most downloaded of the bunch were camera apps, and specifically Pro Camera Beauty, Cartoon Art Photo, and Emoji Camera. Each one notched over 1 million downloads. Several others were downloaded hundreds of thousands of times, such as Artistic Effect Filter, which racked up over half a million downloads. "These apps seemingly allows users to 'beautify' their pictures... Read more...
In the lead up to last year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, Google offered Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL owners Play Store credits. Fast forward to now and it appears Google is once again gifting some Pixel 3 and Pixel XL owners a $2 credit (or more) in the Play Store that can be redeemed on any app or game that costs more than $2 (or the credit amount). It's not clear if every Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL owner is seeing this promo, or if there some set criteria to qualify. If you own one of Google's flagship phones, head over to the Play Store on your handset and select the 'For You' tab, then scroll down. "Congrats on your $2 to spend on any app for game," the message reads. "$2 credit an app or... Read more...
Google has just announced a slew of Play Store Cyber Week 2018 deals including one smoking deal that should help you unwind after a hectic day tomorrow eating turkey and visiting family members (either by choice or by force). The big headliner is the fact that Google will only be charging 99 cents for any of its movie rentals all day during Thanksgiving.  The 99-cent offer extends to all HD and 4K movie rentals, so you can sit on the couch, loosen your belt, unbutton the top button on your pants, and chill watching a movie with family. If that isn't enough, Google is also offering up Starz subscriptions for $5 per month for your first three months of service.  If you prefer to... Read more...
One way to encourage customers to make repeat purchases is by rewarding their loyalty. Most movie theaters have a points program in place, and so do many credit cards. It looks like Google will be joining the fray. There is evidence to suggest that Google is working on a Play Points loyalty program for users who make purchases at its Play Store. There is no such program that is currently in place at any of the major app stores, including Google's Play Store, Apple's App Store, or Microsoft's Windows Store. In that regard, Google could differentiate itself from the competition. Whether that would be enough to sway users into buying an Android phone over an iPhone, we can't say. Either way, it... Read more...
Despite being a free-to-play title, Fortnite is a veritable cash cow. That's because there are in-game purchases available, and Epic Games is raking in a lot of sales from what has become the world's most popular battle royale shooter, having taken the torch from PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and run with it. Unfortunately for Google, it stands to miss out on potentially substantial Fortnite-related revenue when it launches on a wide swath of Android devices. Epic Games previously confirmed that Fortnite will not be available in the Play Store, as it wants to avoid paying a 30 percent cut to Google for any purchases made. "Avoiding the 30 per cent ‘store tax’ is a part of Epic's motivation."... Read more...
Google is making several changes to its Play Store policies, one of which includes the ban of apps that mine cryptocurrencies on Android devices. The policy update is similar to one that exists in the iOS App Store. In both cases, apps that mine in the cloud are still permitted, but not ones that mine locally on the actual phone or tablet. "We don't allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices. We permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency," Google states in its Developer Policy Center. Google's ban comes on the heels of blocking cryptocurrency mining extensions in the Chrome Web Store. The updated polices are presumably in response to the rise of sneaky mining instances,... Read more...
It's been an unfortunately busy few weeks for Android vulnerabilities. Earlier in the month, we wrote about SonicSpy, a grandiose piece of malware that could gain an incredible amount of control over your device - including, of course, being able to record your audio. Just last week, we followed-up with another story talking about the 500 apps Google obliterated from the Play Store that bundled an exploited ad network. Today, WireX is the name of the game, a piece of malware whose sole purpose is to turn our innocent mobile devices into a DDoSing bot network. On August 17, WireX hit many content providers, as well as content delivery networks, with a surge of traffic to render them useless.... Read more...
Just last weekend, we wrote about SonicSpy, a grossly robust piece of malware that infected hundreds of apps on the Play Store. Google is always quick to remove this awful junk when it is detected, but the fact that we keep talking about the issue means it's not going away. It was security research firm Lookout that informed us of SonicSpy, and apparently, the company has been working overtime, as it now introduces us to yet another piece of Android maliciousness, an ad network called lgexin. This issue has impacted many apps on the Play Store, although it's not guaranteed that all of them unleashed their full capabilities. lgexin is an advertising SDK which had some versions equipped with a... Read more...
Over the past handful of years, Google has really amped up its efforts to keep users safe on its Android Play Store. However, it often feels like the more protections Google puts in place, the more fierce the malware gets. Today we learn of yet another piece of malware that has managed to permeate itself throughout the Play Store, and the implications of being infected with it are downright scary. Called "SonicSpy", this piece of malware has found home in a huge number of different apps found throughout the Play Store. Most recently, it found its way into an app called Soniac, a messaging app based on another called Telegram that works as intended, but introduces some dastardly software... Read more...
Google is trying to do it best to ensure that Android users have an enjoyable app experience. The company has ramped up efforts to irradiate spam apps and malware from the Play Store, and now it is bolstering efforts to disincentivize apps that are known to crash or cause other problems on Android devices. In this case, Google says that it has “enhanced [its] search and discovery algorithms to reflect app quality”. Google has found that the majority of users that leave 1-star reviews for apps complain about instability issues, leading to frequent crashes. As a result, Google is using a combination of artificial intelligence and human curation to analyze poorly performing apps and downrank them... Read more...
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