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These apps could ruin your Android phone this Christmas

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Android users have been warned to beware malicious apps on their devices this Christmas after a new report warned of a range of dangerous new threats.

Researchers from security firm Barracuda Networks found thousands of Christmas-themed mobile apps also hid significant security flaws.

These included apps that were able to steal user details, infect a device with malicious adware and others that were able to exploit permissions in order to gain control of a phone's functions

Threats

The team used Barracuda's Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) service to analyse more than 4,200 Android Christmas-related services, including shopping apps, Santa video chat and holiday-themed games.

Overall, it found seven apps exhibiting malicious behavior, such as replacing the app with a version downloaded from the Internet via a command-and-control server, 35 apps containing adware, which displays more invasive and potentially malicious advertisements than standard ad-enabled apps.

165 apps were also detected sporting excessive or dangerous combinations of permissions, meaning that they could be used to gather and steal a user's personal information.

Barracuda is urging users to only download apps from official recognised marketplaces, and check the details of apps (including information such as when it was first uploaded) before choosing.

Users should also consider why apps would ask for certain permissions e.g. allowing a shopping app the ability to send text messages or make phone calls, and ensure parental controls are set up on any devices used by children.