Alert: Google Bans 136 Risky Apps – Remove from Your Phone

Google Play Store Hand

In a recent move, Google has banned a total of 136 apps due to a severe threat to your hard-earned money. Your phone might be a silent victim, and it’s crucial for you to take action immediately. These apps, once innocently residing on the Google Play Store, have now been flagged for their malicious intent. Brace yourself as we dive into the details of the Grifthorse Android Trojan and why it’s a unique danger.

The Grifthorse Android Trojan Unveiled

Security experts at Zimperium zLabs have uncovered a sinister scheme affecting over 10 million Android users worldwide. Unlike typical online scams that rely on phishing, the Grifthorse Android Trojan takes a sneakier route. It hides within seemingly harmless Android applications, acting as Trojan horses. What’s alarming is that these applications appear innocent at first glance, with store descriptions and requested permissions giving users a false sense of confidence.

The uniqueness of Grifthorse lies in its ability to exploit user interactions for widespread infection. Once downloaded, users unknowingly subscribe to premium services, charging a hefty 36 Euros per month without their knowledge or consent. The campaign, running since November 2020, has targeted users across 70 countries, using geo-location and local language to serve selective malicious pages.

The Deceptive Prize Trap

The modus operandi of Grifthorse involves tempting users with fake prizes. Victims receive persistent pop-up alerts proclaiming their supposed winnings. Falling into the trap, users are redirected to geo-specific webpages, asked to provide their phone numbers for verification. Little do they know, they are inadvertently subscribing to a premium SMS service that quietly deducts over 30 Euros from their monthly phone bills.

The impact of this theft often goes unnoticed, allowing the scam to continue for months before detection. Grifthorse capitalizes on small screens, local trust, and misinformation to deceive users, relying on emotions like frustration or curiosity triggered by the fake prize notifications.

Google’s Countermeasures

While Google has taken swift action by banning these malicious apps from the Play Store, the threat is far from eradicated. Grifthorse-powered apps still linger on unsecured third-party app stores, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting users. Even more concerning, they might camouflage within seemingly innocent apps that users have already downloaded, demanding a proactive approach in identifying and removing them.

A Call to Action

In light of this alarming situation, it’s crucial for users to be vigilant. Regularly check your app list, especially if you’ve downloaded applications from third-party stores. Below is a list of banned apps provided by Zimperium zLabs that you should steer clear of to protect yourself from falling prey to this scam:

  1. Call Recoder Pro
  2. QR Reader Pro
  3. Call Record Pro
  4. GPS Phone Tracker – Family Locator
  5. TrueCaller & TrueRecoder
  6. Caller ID & Spam Blocker
  7. Caller-x
  8. Screen Mirroring TV Cast
  9. Free Islamic Stickers 2021
  10. Heart Rhythm
  11. Pulse App – Heart Rate Monitor
  12. Live Mobile Number Tracker
  13. Icony
  14. Pony Video Chat-Live Stream
  15. English Arabic Translator direct
  16. Qibla Ultimate
  17. Forza H Mobile 4 Ultimate Edition
  18. TagsContact
  19. Proof-Caller
  20. Qibla Pass Direction
  21. Smart Call Recorder
  22. WiFi Unlock Password Pro X
  23. Second Translate PRO
  24. Plant Camera Identifier
  25. Phone Search by Clap
  26. Racers Car Driver
  27. FindContact
  28. Horoscope : Fortune
  29. KFC Saudi – Get free delivery and 50% off coupons
  30. Dating App – Sweet Meet
  31. Free Translator Photo
  32. Scanner App Scan Docs & Notes
  33. R Circle – Location Finder
  34. Zodiac : Hand
  35. Video & Photo Recovery Manager 2
  36. iConnected Tracker
  37. Ludo Speak v2.0
  38. Amazing Sticky Slime Simulator ASMR
  39. 100% Projector for Mobile Phone
  40. Qibla correct Quran Coran Koran
  41. Phone Finder by Clapping
  42. Photo Lab
  43. Fitness Trainer
  44. iTranslator_ Text & Voice & Photo
  45. Bus Driving Simulator
  46. Cinema Hall: Free HD Movies
  47. Coupons & Gifts: InstaShop
  48. PikCho Editor app
  49. Free Calls WorldWide
  50. Fingerprint Changer
  51. Daily Horoscope & Life Palmestry
  52. Keyboard: Virtual Projector App
  53. Squishy and Pop it
  54. VPN Zone – Fast & Easy Proxy
  55. Easy TV Show
  56. Intelligent Translator Pro
  57. Ludo Game Classic
  58. Locatoria – Find Location
  59. Lifeel – scan and test
  60. Skycoach
  61. Chat Translator All Messengers
  62. Heart Rate and Meal Tracker
  63. Fitness Point
  64. Language Translator-Easy&Fast
  65. SnapLens – Photo Translator
  66. CallerID
  67. Clap
  68. Qibla AR Pro
  69. Scanner Pro App: PDF Document
  70. Color Call Changer
  71. QR Code Reader – Barcode Scanner
  72. Truck – RoudDrive Offroad
  73. Safe Lock
  74. Translate It – Online App
  75. Bus – Metrolis 2021
  76. Qibla Compass
  77. iSalam Qibla Compass
  78. Быстрые кредиты 24\7
  79. Launcher iOS 15
  80. Stickers Maker for WhatsApp
  81. OFFRoaders – Survive
  82. CutCut Pro
  83. Phone Caller Screen 2021
  84. Hunt Contact
  85. Fingerprint Defender
  86. Keyboard Themes
  87. PhoneControl Block Spam Calls
  88. Bag X-Ray 100% Scanner
  89. Call Recorder iCall
  90. Piano Bot Easy Lessons
  91. Prookie-Cartoon Photo Editor
  92. CallHelp: Second Phone Number
  93. Handy Translator Pro
  94. Parallax paper 3D
  95. Mine Easy Translator
  96. GetContacter
  97. Live Wallpaper & Background
  98. Ela-Salaty: Muslim Prayer Times & Qibla Direction
  99. CIAO – Live Video Chat
  100. Smart Spot Locator
  101. Idle Gun Tycoo
  102. iCare – Find Location
  103. AR Phone Booster – Battery Saver
  104. Face Analyzer
  105. Amazing Video Editor
  106. Call Blocker-Spam Call Blocker
  107. 3D Camera To Plan
  108. Instant Speech Translation
  109. My Locator Plus
  110. FX Keyboard
  111. Launcher iOS for Android
  112. Locker Tool
  113. HOO Live – Meet and Chat
  114. Free Coupons 2021
  115. Slime Simulator
  116. ClipBuddy
  117. Qibla Compass (Kaaba Locator)
  118. Easy Bass Booster
  119. Qibla Finder – Qibla Direction
  120. Street Cars: pro Racing
  121. What’s Me Sticker
  122. Call Blocker-Spam Call Blocker
  123. Geospot: GPS Location Tracker
  124. Qibla direction watch (compass)
  125. Photo Effect Pro
  126. Vector arts
  127. Loca – Find Location
  128. Soul Scanner – Check Your
  129. FastPulse – Heart Rate Monitor
  130. Heart Rate Pro Health Monitor
  131. Clap To Find My Phone
  132. My Chat Translator
  133. Mobile Things Finder
  134. Heart Rate and Pulse Tracker
  135. You Frame
  136. Battery Live Wallpaper 4K

Continuing this list is vital for your digital safety. Ensure you’re not unknowingly hosting these digital thieves on your device. Stay alert, stay secure!