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Pokemon GO malware

Recently, a new widespread threat for a popular game players was identified. A large number of Pokemon GO malware apps lured its potential victims with promises of tips, cheats, or other cool features. While they had innocent enough titles, they were just vehicles for nasty code penetration into the phone, which then conned users into buying expensive scam services.

ESET Mobile Security was the first to discover several malware apps on the Play Store, and Google removed them soon after.

It seems that one of the Pokemon GO malware apps had a resemblance to the actual game, but deliberately locked up the user’s screen after starting up. A simple reboot wouldn’t solve the issue, requiring affected users to either use Android Device Manager or to pull out their battery to restart their device. Even after this, the app continued running in the background, opening porn advertisements. The application had to be manually uninstalled using Android’s settings to be completely removed.

Pokemon GO screenshot

The app was definitely malicious, but ESET noted that if they wanted, its creators could have done even more harm.

Other apps were scareware and lured victims into paying for needless services, like generating great numbers of in-game items, such as Lucky Eggs, PokeBalls, or PokeCoins for Pokemon GO.

These Pokemon GO malware apps promised as many as 999,999 on a daily basis. Before they delivered on their promises, however, the apps required users to “verify” their account. It was then that counterfeit pop-ups would materialize and claim the device had a virus that needed cleaning up.

Pokemon GO malware removed

Pokemon GO malware

Luckily, Google Play took these apps down pretty fast, so there wasn’t enough time for them to attract a big amount of victims. Having said that, it’s a matter of concern that the apps were ever live on Google Play in the first place.

Google has a questionable history regarding the prevention of malicious apps and adware, despite their fast reactions to the flagged applications. Yet the company claims Android users are protected from malware by its systems, which check more than 6 billion applications each day.

With the craze for Pokemon GO in full swing, you can bet there’ll be numerous malicious apps popping up down the road.

Since the Google Play store can’t be completely trusted to keep you safe, your best move to protect yourself from Pokemon GO malware on Android is to be cautious before you install the game from a third-party developer, at least for now. This is a particularly good advice if the app seems to be making promises that are too good to be true.

Have you seen more Pokemon GO malware out there? Tell us in the comments below and check out other helpful security articles on how to completely wipe any personal data off your phone and maintain your privacy on Android.

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