Alright, the latest Android malware scare (Gooligan) is out and us media types are all reporting on it. Usually we’d just write the story up and throw out some numbers like, one million Google accounts compromised and all that, but seriously… people, just stop it. Stop installing Android apps from third-party sources and you’ll be just fine. Malware, and crap like Gooligan, are things you shouldn’t have to worry about if you’re installing trusted apps from Google Play.
The reality of Gooligan is that it is news and blogs and news outlets want to report on it. Heck, I was going to write up a story on it myself but frankly, I’ve grown tired of writing up Android malware stories, especially since the real story is people are still installing Android apps from third-party sources. Crafting a headline for the Gooligan story was too taxing on my brain, trying to avoid what would be consider a clickbait headline was just too much. Here’s just a bit of what Lifehacker has to report on the Gooligan malware story and then we’ll move on to address the elephant in the room.
Over one million Google accounts have been breached after a malware called Gooligan started spreading like wildfire through third-party Android app stores. Compromised accounts are then used to post fake ratings for malicious apps and to download adware onto infected devices. Even enterprise accounts have been affected. Here’s how you can check if your Google account has been compromised.
Dozens of fake apps carrying the Gooligan malware downloads rootkits onto infected devices that use Android Jelly Bean, KitKat and Lollipop. The newest Android operating system is Nougat but around 74% of devices still run the older versions, according to security researchers at Check Point that discovered Gooligan.
If you look back at the bulk of Android malware reports, a high percentage of them involve installing apps from untrusted sources. This is a practice that just needs to stop. Why Google even offers the ability to install from third-party sources is confusing. I understand that people want to do what they want to do with their devices, I can respect that, but let’s not be all that surprised when we see malware infections in the millions.
Let’s also report these incidents with a little less drama (yes we have been dramatic in the past as well). Yes, malware infections are a serious matter, but they would happen far less if people weren’t installing cracked apps, fake apps, and apps from third-party sources. Just stop it people, get your apps from Google and save yourselves the headaches.