If you're using an Android phone, chances are that whenever you want to install an app, you open Google Play Store by default. However, if happen to own a Samsung smartphone, the company also gives you another option as it ships its own app store, which goes by the name of Samsung Galaxy Store, on its phone. It has some apps that are 'Made for Samsung' and some apps that are not available on the Google Play Store, such as Epic Games launcher. However, it seems that it isn't safe to download apps from Samsung's app store as a report from AndroidPolice claims that some apps on the Galaxy Store are infected with malware.
According to the report, Samsung has a movie piracy app on its app store called Showbox. When installing this app, or other apps based on this app, Google's built-in Play Protect on Android triggers a warning saying "This app may be harmful". The publication ran a virus-test on 'Virustotal' which reveals that these apps trigger about a dozen low-grade alerts which range from "riskware" to "adware". The report also reveals that these apps access resources that you generally don't expect a movie or a TV show app to access, such as contacts, call logs, and the telephone.
The publication reached out to Android security analyst linuxct to know more about the issues that were reported by Play Protect. The analyst revealed that many of these malware-infected apps contain ad tech (advertisement technology) that was capable of executing code dynamically. What this basically means is that the ads displayed in these apps are able to execute "other code" which "could" include malware. *"So at any moment [these ads] may become a trojan/malware, hence it's unsafe and thus why so many vendors flagged it in VT/Play Protect," he added.
"Linuxct added that there are very few legitimate use cases for this functionality [ads that are capable of executing other code], and it could be weaponized easily."
Even though a Reddit thread claims that Showbox is not working anymore, the app is still published on the Galaxy app store. And not only Samsung is hosting apps on its Galaxy app store which could contain viruses and malware, but the company is also allowing the developers to upload clones of these movie-piracy apps. Google doesn't allow apps like Showbox to be hosted on the Play Store.
Samsung still hasn't given an official statement regarding this issue. But since these apps are triggering malware warnings, we would recommend you to not to install them on your Samsung Galaxy device. Have you spotted any app with such issues on the Galaxy Store? Let us know in the comments section below!