200 malicious Android and iOS apps draining bank accounts — check your phone now

Green skull on smartphone screen.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you need another reminder to be careful when downloading new apps for your devices, a new batch of malicious apps has been discovered stealing both data and money from unsuspecting users.

As reported by Laptop Mag, these 203 malicious iOS and Android apps were first discovered by Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). DES made the decision to inform the public about these bad apps on its Facebook page after they were found stealing personal information, draining users’ bank accounts, remotely taking control of infected smartphones and being used to commit identity theft.

The apps in question cover a wide variety of categories from chat apps to photo filters to custom keyboards and PDF convertors. However, the one thing they all share in common is the fact that they contain malware and perform other malicious actions once installed on your smartphone.

Neither DES or the NCSC has shared any additional info on which malware strain these apps are spreading to vulnerable smartphones, just that they’re dangerous. Both organizations are also working with Google and Apple to have these apps removed from their respective app stores.

For this reason, you should remove any of these apps if they’re installed on either your Android smartphone or iPhone. While the security researchers who have discovered large batches of bad apps like this in the past have differentiated which apps are for iOS or Android, that isn’t the case here, so you’ll need to go through the list of apps below yourself and see if any of them stick out.

Delete these apps now

To save you the trouble of having to go through DES’ Facebook post, we’ve compiled the full list of these 203 malicious apps below. If any of them are installed on your smartphone or tablet, it’s highly recommended that you remove them immediately.

  1. 4K Pro Camera
  2. 4K Wallpapers Auto Changer
  3. Advanced SMS
  4. aipic - Magic Photo Editor
  5. All Good PDF Scanner
  6. All Language Translate
  7. All Photo Translator
  8. Art Filters
  9. Astro + Horoscope & Astrology
  10. Astroline: The Daily Horoscope
  11. Auto Sticker Maker Studio
  12. Avatar Maker Character Creator
  13. Baby Sticker- Track Milestones
  14. Bass Booster Volume Power Amp
  15. Battery Charging Animations Battery Wallpaper
  16. Battery Charging Animations Bubble -Effects
  17. Beat.ly Music Video Maker
  18. Beat maker pro
  19. Beauty Filter
  20. Blood Pressure Checker
  21. Blood Pressure Diary
  22. Blue Scanner
  23. Blur Image
  24. Caller Theme
  25. CallMe Phone Themes
  26. Call Skins
  27. Camera Translator
  28. Care Message
  29. Cartoons Me
  30. Cashe Cleaner
  31. Chat Online
  32. Chat SMS
  33. Chat Text SMS
  34. Classic Emoji Keyboard
  35. Classic Game Messenger
  36. Coco camera v1.1
  37. Come Messages
  38. Contact Background
  39. Cool Keyboard
  40. Cool Messages
  41. Creative 3D Launcher
  42. Creative Emoji Keyboard
  43. Custom Themed Keyboard
  44. Cut, Paste
  45. Dazz Cam- D3D Photo Effect
  46. Dazzle – Insta stories editor
  47. Dazzling Keyboard
  48. Design Maker
  49. Desire Translate
  50. Direct Messenger
  51. Dizzi
  52. DJ it!
  53. Drink Water
  54. Drums: Play Beats & Drum Games
  55. Easy PDF Scanner
  56. edjing Mix
  57. edjing Pro
  58. EmojiOne Keyboard
  59. Emoji Theme Keyboard
  60. Equalizer+ HD music player
  61. Equalizer Fx: Bass Booster App
  62. Facelab
  63. FaceMe
  64. Facetory: Face Yoga & Exercise
  65. Fancy Charging
  66. Fancy SMS
  67. Flashlight Flash Alert On Call
  68. FLMX
  69. Fonts Emoji Keyboard
  70. Frame
  71. Frames
  72. Freeglow Camera 1.0.0
  73. Funny Caller
  74. Funny Camera
  75. Funny Emoji Message
  76. Funny Keyboard
  77. Funny Wallpapers – Live Scree
  78. Gif Emoji Keyboard
  79. Girl Games: Unicorn Slime
  80. Guitar Play – Games & Songs
  81. Guitar – real games & lessons
  82. Guitar Tuner – Ukulele & Bass
  83. Halloween Coloring
  84. Handset – Second Phone Number
  85. Heart Emoji Stickers
  86. Highlight Story Cover Maker!
  87. Hi Text SMS
  88. Horoscope 2019 and Palm Reader
  89. Hub – Story Templates Maker
  90. Hummingbird PDF Converter – Photo to PDF
  91. Hyper Cleaner: Clean Phone
  92. iCons - Icon Changer App +
  93. iMessager
  94. Impresso
  95. Instant Messenger
  96. iWidget Pro
  97. Jambl: DJ Band & Beat Maker
  98. Jigsaw Puzzle
  99. Karaoke Songs
  100. Life Palmistry
  101. Lift: Story Maker
  102. Light Messages
  103. Live Wallpaper Maker: 4K Theme
  104. Loop Maker Pro
  105. Lucky Life
  106. MagicFX – Magic Video Effects
  107. Magic Photo Editor
  108. Memoristo: Brain Test, IQ Game
  109. Memory Silent Camera
  110. Menu Maker!
  111. Meticulous Scanner
  112. Metronome Pro – Beat & Tempo
  113. Metronome – Tap Tempo & Rhythm
  114. Mini PDF Scanner
  115. Mint Leaf Message-Your Private Message
  116. Mood Balance: Self Care Tracker
  117. Music Zen – Relaxing Sounds
  118. MyCall – Call Personalization
  119. Nebula: Horoscope & Astrology
  120. Neon Theme Keyboar
  121. NewScrean: 4D Wallpapers
  122. Notes – reminders and lists
  123. Now QRcode Scan
  124. One Sentence Translator – Multifunctional Translator
  125. Painting Photo Editor
  126. Paper Doc Scanner
  127. Part Message
  128. Password Manager
  129. Path – Horoscope & Astrology
  130. PDF Scanner: Document Scan
  131. Personal Message
  132. Photo Collage
  133. Photo Editor & Background Eraser
  134. Photo Editor – Filters Effects
  135. Photo & Exif Editor
  136. Photo Filters & Effects
  137. Photoly Remove Object & Editor
  138. Photo To Sketch
  139. Piano Crush
  140. Piano
  141. Pista
  142. Pixomatic
  143. Poco Launcher
  144. Premium SMS
  145. Presets for Lightroom
  146. Private Game Messages
  147. Private Messenger
  148. Private SMS
  149. Professional Messenger
  150. Quick Talk Message
  151. Razer Keyboard & Theme
  153. Retouch & Cutout
  154. Rich Theme Message
  155. Ringtones HD
  156. ScanGuru
  157. Scanner App
  158. Send SMS
  159. Simple Note Scanner
  160. SlidePic
  161. Slimy
  162. Smart Messages
  163. Smart SMS Messages
  164. Smart TV remote
  165. Smile Emoji
  166. Social Message
  167. SpeedPro Slow speed video edit
  168. Stickerfy: Sticker Maker
  169. Sticker Maker
  170. Stickers & GIF
  171. Stock Wallpapers & Backgrounds
  172. Style Message
  173. Style Photo Collage
  174. Super Hero-Effect
  175. Sweet Pics - Baby Photo Edito
  176. Talent Photo Editor - Blur focus
  177. Tangram App Lock
  178. TeasEar: ASMR Slime Antistress
  179. Text Emoji SMS
  180. Text SMS
  181. Themes Chat Messenger
  182. Themes Photo Keyboard
  183. Timestamp Camera
  184. ToonApp Cartoon Photo Editor
  185. Translate Camera - Speak On
  186. Translator Guru: Voice & Text
  187. UltraFX - Effect Video Maker
  188. Unicc QR Scanner
  189. Unique Keyboard
  190. Universal PDF Scanner
  191. Vanilla Snap Camera
  192. Video Puzzles - Magic Puzzle
  193. Ringtones HD ∙ Ringtone Maker
  194. VOCHI Video Effects Editor
  195. Volume Booster Hearing Aid
  196. Volume Booster Louder Sound Equalizer
  197. Water Reminder
  198. WeDrum: Drums, Real Drum Games
  199. Widget PLUS+ – Photo & Weather
  200. Wow Beauty Camera
  201. Wow Translator
  202. Yoga- For Beginner to Advanced
  203. YouToon - AI Cartoon Effect

How to stay safe from malicious apps on Android and iOS

A woman looking at a smartphone while using a laptop

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

When it comes to staying safe from malicious apps, the first thing you need to do is to be extremely cautious when installing new software on your smartphone. Even if you’re downloading an app from an official app store, it could still be malicious. As such, you should always check app reviews and ratings in the store first before downloading anything. As app reviews can be faked though, you should also look for external reviews on other sites or even better — video reviews showing the app in action.

If you use one of the best Android phones, you should ensure that Google Play Protect is enabled as it continually scans your existing apps as well as any new ones you download for malware. At the same time, you may also want to install one of the best Android antivirus apps for additional protection.

Despite Google and Apple’s best efforts, bad apps will likely continue to slip through their defenses. For this reason, you should keep the old adage “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is” in mind. An app that promises to let you stream paid content for free or claims to pay out big rewards for using it is likely a scam and these apps need to be avoided at all costs.

For your own security, it's also worth sticking to more popular apps from established companies rather than downloading an app from a developer without a proven track record.

More from Tom's Guide

Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home. 

  • TracyBueller
    Small critique: While I know nefarious and low effort apps love to steal, appropriate, and downright mimicks or otherwise copy icons and icon elements of legitimate apps (and even desktop pc program icons that do not have legit mobile apps), it would be helpful to include the app store icons of the problematic apps, as well as the developer name they were uploaded under. Someone (who isnt discerning about their downloads and installs) might not remember downloading the 'funny photo bank draining camera' app, but they will remember that one icon they always see in their app drawer when looking for their camera app.

    It would also be helpful to mention and link to an article about using a computer and ADB to uninstall apps and bloatware. Although do remember to warn readers while removing crapware, bloat, brand installed junk, etc, deleting the wrong system file can lead to a loss of features requiring a factory reset. However considering how much garbage some providers and manufacturers put on devices (LOOKING AT YOU SAMSUNG! AND LG! Like, we already need to log into google, what the hell is the point of copying the very services Google already forces upon us.....except worse? In both usability and privacy concerns...And why does facebook need an auto reinstalling package manager on MY device? Ill decide if I want facebook on my phone, when facebook pays for my phone then it can have a say about whats on it!), its usually worth looking into removing them. Especially for the more technically minded and privacy conscience audience.

    The only reason so many companies, manufacturers,and app developers believe they can get away with these behaviors that 10 years ago, on a PC, we would have likened them viruses, trojans, worms, etc is how complacent so many people are and allowing these background processes to continue running on their devices. Say "No!" people. Samsung removed the IR blaster in their devices because no one used their piece of cow dung Peel app, but many did you use other third party apps (irPlus FTW!). So according to their metrics since no one used their app, no one was using the IR blaster, no point in having it in the devices. Now of course this is a failing in how they collect and interpret their metrics, and to be honest monitoring the usage of the IR blaster versus simply whenever their program was launched would have had bad optics in the realm of privacy but the lesson is clear....

    Screw up their metrics, don't allow these programs to run, or even exist on your device, in the background and they will get the message.

    .... Or they'll double down on forcing you to use them anyways. But at least they won't be able to do it surreptitiously, it'll force their hand in doing it blatantly and in the open.