Viruses are Increasingly Disguising as Android Versions of Minecraft, Roblox, and GTA

Cyber Threats Pose Heightened Risk to Russian Android Users

According to cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, the number of attacks on Android users in Russia has more than doubled in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. This dramatic increase is mainly due to malicious software disguised as popular games such as Minecraft, Roblox, GTA, and Angry Birds.

Rise in Malware Attacks via Popular Games

Kaspersky specified that tens of thousands of malware attacks on Android were blocked in the first quarter alone. Cybercriminals frequently utilize popular game titles as bait to lure users into downloading malicious software. The malware is often found in mods for popular games or apps disguised as games that serve no purpose, except to harm the device.

Rodion Trufanov, the head of EvApps, added that a search of the mentioned game titles on Google Play Store reveals up to 10 applications with obvious malware traits. For instance, in the Minecraft case, counterfeit mods and cheat codes are utilized, while in Roblox, cyber criminals mask malware as additions offering illegitimate functions.

Increased Number of Fake Apps

A considerable number of deceptive apps masquerade as GTA, enticing users by promising access to full versions of games or mods. The presence of suspicious currency generators and mods for Brawl Stars on Google Play is concerning, with malware frequently promoted under the guise of mods for Angry Birds.

Growth in Phishing and Virus Attacks

Konstantin Sakhnov, the co-founder of Vengeance Games, associates the increase in phishing and virus attacks via Android games with the gray market’s growth in Russia. “The number of installs not through official stores, but through downloading apk on the internet is growing. Unfortunately, this is an inevitable problem in the face of restrictions imposed on Russian users.”

Less Prevalence on iOS

Typically, malicious software disguised as games has not widely infiltrated iOS due to its unique platform features. Kaspersky Lab noted that Android users are more susceptible to criminal attacks compared to iOS users. However, even the App Store has encountered scam apps, posing as educational investment games, for example.

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