Android smartphones are some of the most popular handheld devices in the world and the Google Play Store has millions of apps that get used every day.
However, researchers from VPN Pro have discovered 24 apps that contain malware and rogueware, making them an incredible security risk for those that download them.
VPN Pro researcher Jan Youngren said in a blog that he traced these apps to a Chinese based company called Shenzhen HAWK.
The report from Mr Youngren said the company have a history of unethical practices, malware and rogueware.
As well as infecting people’s phones, the apps are also seeking permission to collect data from the phone and send it to servers in China.
Mr Youngren said: “Our research has uncovered that they’re asking for a huge amount of dangerous permissions, potentially putting users’ private data at risk.
“These dangerous permissions include the ability to make calls, take pictures and record video, record audio, and much more.”
These apps have already been downloaded over 382 million times.
One app called Sound Recorder, which has over 100 million downloads, requests access to the phone’s camera and can take pictures without your knowing.
Another, called Weather Forecast, with over 10 million downloads, is harvesting users data and subscribed users to premium phone numbers, leading to massive charges on phone bills.
Mr Youngren advised: “Users should seriously consider whether the perceived benefits will outweigh these serious negatives.
“In general, when selecting apps to use – and especially when giving them access to sensitive parts of your phone – users need to be very vigilant.
“Apps that seem innocent may actually be reading and changing your files, selling your data, or much worse.
“After all, at the end of the day, you are the last line of defence against malicious software.”
Below is a list of the apps you should delete immediately if they are on your Android phone:
- HI VPN, Free VPN
- Soccer Pinball
- Dig It
- Laser Break
- Word Crush
- Music Roam
- Word Crossy!
- Puzzle Box
- World Zoo
- Private Browser
- Calendar Lite
- Turbo Browser
- Joy Launcher
- Virus Cleaner 2019
- Super Cleaner
- Hi Security 2019
- Candy Selfie Camera
- Super Battery
- Candy Gallery
- Hi VPN Pro
- Net Master