Google Play Store Sees Alarming Surge in Malicious Apps

Google Play Store Sees Alarming Surge in Malicious Apps

Renata Silva
2 min read

Google's Latest Security Report Indicates Surge in "Bad Apps" and Accounts on Play Store

Google has released a security report disclosing a significant increase in identified "bad apps" and accounts on its Play Store. The numbers have surged by nearly 60% and almost doubled, respectively, within just a year. This escalation in malicious apps carries implications, particularly for iPhone and iPad users in Europe. The impending Digital Markets Act (DMA) promises new options that Apple cautions could expose users to heightened security risks. As Apple eases its App Store restrictions in response to antitrust campaigns and competition, users may unintentionally navigate into unfamiliar territory, exposing their devices to heightened risks. Infosecurity Magazine recommends sticking to official app stores like Google Play for Android apps, as third-party alternatives lack robust vetting processes, leaving users more vulnerable.

Key Takeaways

  • Google's latest security update indicates a growing number of "bad apps" and fraudulent transactions on its Play Store.
  • In 2022, Google prevented 1.43 million policy-violating apps compared to 2.28 million in 2023, a nearly 60% increase.
  • The majority of threats come from third-party app stores and direct installs, making the DMA's changes to iOS riskier.
  • Android has improved its security, but third-party app stores still pose a significant risk.
  • Apple's differentiation through lockdown security is being erased, potentially impacting user safety and trust.
  • Despite threats, Google Play Store remains a safer option for downloading Android apps than third-party marketplaces.


The surge in malicious apps on Google's Play Store, as revealed in their latest security report, signals a growing concern for user security, particularly for iPhone and iPad users in Europe. The Digital Markets Act (DMA) may inadvertently expose users to greater risks as Apple loosens App Store restrictions. This development could negatively impact both companies' user trust and safety. Meanwhile, third-party app stores, which are responsible for the majority of threats, continue to pose significant risks for Android users. In response, it's advisable to use official app stores like Google Play, as they typically undergo more rigorous vetting processes. As antitrust campaigns and competition intensify, it's crucial for tech giants to strike a balance between maintaining user security and fostering a competitive marketplace.

Did You Know?

  • Bad apps: In the context of this article, "bad apps" refer to apps that violate Google's policies and can potentially harm users' devices or steal sensitive information. These apps can include malware, spyware, or apps that engage in fraudulent activities.

  • Digital Markets Act (DMA): The DMA is a legislative proposal by the European Union targeted at creating a more competitive and fair digital market. In the context of this article, the DMA is relevant because it may force Apple to loosen its App Store restrictions, potentially exposing iOS users to greater security risks if they venture into third-party app stores.

  • Third-party app stores: These are platforms other than the official app stores (Google Play for Android and App Store for iOS) from which users can download apps. Third-party app stores often have less stringent vetting processes, making them riskier for users as they may unknowingly download "bad apps" that can harm their devices or steal personal information.

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