How Apps Could Be Sneaking Malware Onto Your Phone

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Some malware comes right through the front door.

Have you noticed your Android device has been slower and riddled with annoying pop-ups lately? You might have contracted malware that made its way onto your phone through the Google Play Store.

In a report, technical support site BleepingComputer details a growing trend in mobile malware that involves the use of a tool known as a "dropper," which hides code within an app.

While contained within an app, droppers are benign, making it hard for Google to detect them in the Play Store with its standard security tests. Once they're on your device, however, droppers will attack with malware in multiple stages over time. This makes them similar to trojan horses. Sometimes hackers will include an additional aspect of mischief, like adding a timer to space out malware deployments.

"It is quite difficult to detect dropper apps," security researcher Gaetan van Diemen told BleepingComputer. "As you can imagine, threat actors will put a lot of energy in keeping those apps undetected."

Until Google gets a handle on the situation, there are a few ways to stay safe. Security experts recommend you keep the operating system on your phone updated and be very wary about which apps you download from the app store and in general maintain good cyber hygiene.