Avast is working on keeping you safe, now harder than ever, and while we can't cure the COVID-19 disease, we can help protect people's phones from cybercriminals taking advantage of the situation.

While the world stays at home to minimize the risk of the coronavirus spreading, apps are flooding the market providing information and educational advice around COVID-19. However, hackers have already started monetizing from the situation. They are releasing malicious apps that are masking themselves as fake COVID-19 tracking apps or even fake "cures" for the disease. Also, new apps have appeared that aim to spread misinformation about the pandemic.

For consumers, it is difficult to distinguish between malicious and benign apps, and therefore we decided to help with our mobile threat intelligence platform, apklab.io.

Are you a malware researcher?

We have customized our telemetry feeds of clean and malicious app samples and URLs and made them public, so you as a researcher can easily access them and investigate the security of these apps. We’re inviting the research community to help, as together we can make a difference, to use the data and your insights to better protect people.

If you're not already a member of our community, request an invite to see more information about each sample. Any ideas on what else could apklab.io provide to help the fight? Contact us at apklab@avast.com or @apklabio.

How to protect yourself?

  • Use a website instead. Websites are inherently much safer than installing any apps on your phone.
    Most information the fake apps are claiming to provide are shared by established websites, like world statistics, based on input from Johns Hopkins University.
  • Only install apps from the Google Play Store or other official stores. The vast majority of malware is spread outside of the Play Store, so by using it, you've already evaded most of the threats.
  • Get a second opinion on the app, before you install it. Take a look at how many downloads and reviews it has. Do they look real?

Stay safe!

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