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New report identifies the most dangerous app store on the internet, so if you use it, stop right now

New report identifies the most dangerous app store on the internet, so if you use it, stop right now
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Android users who have downloaded apps from 9Game.com may want to stop immediately: the portal has been named the app store with the most malicious apps in 2019 according to RiskIQ's 2019 Mobile App Threat Landscape report. 

9Game is a portal to download free Android games. It ranked as the top offender in two categories: the app store with the most "new" malicious app uploads, and the the app store with the highest concentration of malicious apps overall. 

In 2019 alone, 61,669 new apps considered "malicious" were uploaded onto the 9Game store. That greatly outranks the number of malicious apps uploaded to the Google Play Store, which clocks in in second on the list of new malware uploads at 25,647. 

To round out the top 5 offenders in this category, Qihoo 360's Zhushou store comes in as the third-worst offender, feral apps (apps published outside app stores) come in fourth, and Huawei's Vmall app store comes in fifth. 

On the list of top five app stores with the highest concentration of malicious apps, 9Game comes in at number one, feral apps at number two, the Vmall app store at number three, the Xiaomi app store at number four, and Qihoo 360's Zhushou store at number 5. 

Apple's app store notably does not make either list, as it rarely hosts dangerous apps. 

While Google Play has a considerable number of malicious apps, the reported number is actually considered to be an improvement. The number of blacklisted apps in the Google Play Store fell over 76% in 2019 from the year before. There is also an overall global downward trend: the total number of malicious apps in 2019 fell 20% to 170,796 from 213,279 in 2018. 

What is a malicious app?

A malicious app is an app that claims to be one thing but is actually running a program in the background that can perform different tasks that compromise your system and your security. Some apps can pull some of your personal information and exploit information stored on your phone, like contact lists, or install malware. 

So how can you spot a malicious app? A basic rule of thumb is that, when in doubt, don't download it. Often, malicious apps will ask for permission to access information unrelated to the supposed function of the app, like access to text messages or billing. Furthermore, if the app description is written poorly (such as with poor grammar or nonsensical sentences), it's best to stay away. 

Staying secure on your phone

With millions of apps out there, we've pinpointed a few of our favorites, so you know they're safe to use. Check out the best online dating sites and apps, best Spanish learning apps, and the best piano apps to name a few.