23 of the top 500 Google Play Apps considered to be malware; malware up 580% this year (Infographic)

by: Joe HindyOctober 27, 2012

android malware

Getting a virus on one’s machine is always cause for concern. They can do some nasty stuff such as crashing computers, stealing personal info, and just being an all around nuisance. People often go to great strides to avoid getting one.

In the Android world, Malware has been on the increase in recent years as the platform has gotten more powerful and more apps have been released. How much has it increased exactly? According to TrustGo, 23 of the top 500 Google Play apps are considered high risk. Malware over all is up 580%.

The interesting statistic is the 23 apps in the top 500 over at the Google Play Store. What qualifies as high risk, exactly? An example of what TrustGo considers high risk is applications like Talking Tom Cat Free. In the Infographic below, you can see that Talking Tom Cat Free jacks your phone number and sends it to a third party. That’s a big no-no, Talking Tom Cat. That app alone has had 50 million downloads since its release.

These high risk apps aren’t dangerous on the face of them. For instance, your phone probably won’t get hacked, your storage won’t get wiped, or anything like that. Most malicious apps grab your phone number and sell it to third parties. Some will grab info from your contacts or start sending you ad-laden text messages.


Run for the hills, we are all doomed! Malware is everywhere!

If that’s been your reaction, you may be suffering from a term The Next Web refers to as FUD. FUD stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. It’s a popular and powerful marketing technique companies use to coerce people into buying things.

Things such as mobile anti-virus programs. While the numbers seem ridiculous and awful, they really aren’t. Who even uses Tom Talking Cat Lite anymore? Yes, Malware is up 580%. That sounds drastic. To put it in perspective, The Next Web reports that only 1.69% of all Android apps across all app markets are malicious in some way. Most of those aren’t even in the Google Play Store. What about that 23 of the top 500 statistic? That’s 4.6% of the top apps that are high risk. Is it really worth getting worked up over 4.6%?

Of course, phone security is important. Learning the tips and tricks to spotting Malware, being informed, and understanding application permissions can go a long way to keeping you safe. A lot more so than many anti-virus apps can. So who’s ready for a holiday inspired Infographic? You check out the one TrustGo released here.

  • randydicks

    EVERYONE! Prepare for the Apple trolls to come in and start bashing!

    • MasterMuffin

      Apple doesn’t have virus that’s why it’s so much better than android, only stupid people buy android (:D)

      • MasterMuffin

        ^ if you somehow didn’t get, I WAS JOKING (some people just don’t get it) :)

      • rafa

        Android is for higer mind, smart people not a sheep, with Android u can modifying, develop. And the best software, not like ios with his stupid maps not working.. and his little screen and poor software. U need to di s little research about that

        • MasterMuffin

          :D yep

        • matt

          His stupid maps?

        • for gSheep

        • The Reverse

          Actually studies show that those with iPhones have a higher IQ than the average Android user. They are also more likely to attend college.

          • ash

            Dubious either way. You are not going to get me to believe that there is a considerable enough gap concerning education either way, be it for android or ios, with the phrase ‘studies show’. There are no references thus the thinking mind must question. I own both, i prefer my android for many reasons not necessarily the os. My mother owns only ios. I am definitely more highly educated than her. Of course, the studies are merely correlations so there is room for difference. How large were the samples? Or were you simply making it up to rile the person who was being stupidly anti ios.

        • impaler

          Higher mindsetfor malware perhaps. Usually it’s android users that troll apple users

      • AngelesMEC

        Well that’s good.. Atleast my grandmother wouldn’t have to worry. :)

        • MasterMuffin

          If your grandmother would get a smartphone, I would actually suggest iPhone because your grandmother probably learn to use it easier :)

        • ash

          My friends who use iphone complain about viruses as well by the way. My phone is symbian my tablet is android and my wifi enabled music player is ios.

    • Atlas

      1 million people just got infected by a play store app.

  • DaN

    I wonder if Mobile anti virus working or not? As myself not using

  • ciana

    Just install a good anti virus and your Android will be safe!

    • Waza_Be

      Installing an antivirus is the stupidiest thing you can do.

      I can write an app that send 300 SMS to an overpriced number, in about 10 minuts.
      Adding a cool icon of Angry birds and publish to 50 chinese market and Google play will take a few extra minutes per market.

      I wonder which antivirus will detect that ;-)

      • MasterMuffin

        Actually many, for example avast or trustgo, trustgo would say that there’s a high risk in this app and it would ask do you want to delete, I tested it with a virus from a chinese app market :)

        • Waza_Be

          I am glad that you feel protected.
          And BTW, there are no viruses in chinese Market, only malicious app.

          • MasterMuffin

            Thank you for your obvious sarcasm, and BTW there are viruses in chinese Market (like you would know every application there -.-)

          • Waza_Be

            Read the definition of virus and malicious app (or malware), then come back.

          • MasterMuffin

            A computer virus is a computer program that can replicate itself[1] and spread from one computer to another. The term “virus” is also commonly, but erroneously, used to refer to other types of malware, including but not limited to adware and spywareprograms that do not have a reproductive ability. Straight from wikipedia, and I wasn’t the word “virus” using it erroneously

          • Waza_Be

            As it can replicate itself and spread, don’t you think those “viruses” if exist would be everywhere, and not only on chinese markets? ;-)

            When you tested the “virus” from the chinese Market, how many times has it replicated and how many smartphones has it infected?

            I am really curious.

            I am also surprised than in 2012 people are daring to quote wikipedia as a reliable source, even if in this case the definition seems correct.

          • MasterMuffin

            Yes, they don’t only exist in chinese market…
            Actually, I lied little, I didn’t test the virus, I got it when I tried to download n.o.v.a. 3 for free. TrustGo said it was malicious but I still continued and *boom* a virus. The app was n.o.v.a. 3 and I was like :okay: and deleted it, but I didn’t know that it still existed. I continued using my phone normally. I had a new phone (sgs3) and I had to change to mikro sim card so I had lost all my numbers. But when I added one number, few minutes after that my friend, whose number it was, received a weird message in weird language (probably chinese, I don’t know) and there was an weird file with the message. I said to him that don’t open it and then I understood that something was wrong. I looked my files with my file explorer and there were some weird files that I hadn’t made and when I tried to delete them, tjey came back and because it was a new phone, I didn’t have anything in my phone so I did a factory reset and problem solved. Sound like a virus to me, or am I wrong?

            I trust some wikipedia pages that (like this one) are monitored carefully and they have those links to where this information is from :)

          • Waza_Be

            I just read your other posts.. I have been fooled by your sense of humour!

            Well done!

    • Atlas

      No obviously. 1 million people just got infected by a play store app.

  • Sohip

    That’s why I use LBE, and it’s not just an antivirus… it hands you the control over permissions for all apps! AndroidAuthurity needs to run a review over this app to let everyone know about it’s greatness over other antiviruses apps…

    • IncCo

      there are plenty of apps that do this as long as you are rooted..

      • Sohip

        really? can you tell me the names of some of them, I like trying out new apps…

        • IncCo

          sorry mate, i cant remember what thay are called since i dont use them. But i know they are out there, however they arent anti-virus apps, they only handle permissions.

  • So, where is a list of these apps and what they do?

    • Larkhillv

      You’ll have to purchase the anti-virus app, pay for all 500 apps on the list, and scan them all to find out :P

  • Robust Computers

    My advise… format your phone reinstall android. Update all your stock software then download trustgo, follow its suggestions and do not install any detected threats. You will stop receiving unsolicited SMS. From Robust Computers.

  • mgb

    What if TrustGo is malware, and the developers want you to install it so that…..
    Frightening, isn’t it!

  • Androiddevil

    Trust go is one of the baddest Anti-malware apps ever. you can see it on the website below.


  • Joe

    You know what’s really funny? Under the article Android Authority served me an ad for AirPush – the ad provider which spams your notification area, creates spammy bookmarks and home screen shortcuts.