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Google Play removes games for installing malware

13 apparent racing games all from same developer taken down after over 560,000 downloads

Google has removed a total of 13 supposed racing games from the Google Play store following the discovery that all of them installed malware onto devices that downloaded them.

Malware and security researcher Lukas Stefanko tweeted about the problem last week, showing that the 13 apps were all from the same developer going by Luiz O. Pinto. In total, the games had over 560,000 installs before being removed, and two made it onto Google Play's trending apps list.

The games reportedly would launch after installation and then appear to crash. What was actually occurring was that the app was downloading a different program when launched, which would then install malware on the user's device and delete the app icon on the phone's home screen.

TechCrunch has since confirmed with Google that the games have been removed for violating the store's policies.

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Latest comments (2)

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany2 years ago
I guess I don't need to post the usual comment questioning google's app certification process, right?
This are only 13. But is yet another example why I don't download a single app as is either from a trusted developer or that I have proof that is legit via other sources.
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Hugo Trepanier Senior Game Designer, Ludia2 years ago
Fake games also make their way to iOS regularly. I don't know that they contain malicious code but at the very least they are morally questionable, offering an inferior experience to profit on the back of legit original creations. These aren't just heavily inspired from other titles, they rip off visuals and names directly (compare "Dead Cel" on iTunes with ripoff images from "Dead Cells" and "Hollow Knight").
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