We are most likely used to how companies tend to bend the truth a bit to sell their products, but sometimes things can get quite out of hand. That might just be the case when Trend Micro published a blog post which painted a picture of Google Play Store that was too horrifying to be true, only to later “clarify” the exact point that the cyber security firm was trying to make.
100% of free apps filed under the Widgets, Media & Video, and Finance group in Google Play Store are fake. 90% of those under Business, Music & Audio, Weather are fake. 70% of apps grouped under Games, Books & Reference, Live Wallpapers are fake. And 51% of those fake apps are malicious. We will not claim that the Android platform is immune to malware, much less fake apps, as our security tag portal can attest to. But these figures really border on plain ridiculous. 100% is 100% and that doesn’t really leave any room for popular and verified authentic apps like HD Widgets, Muzei, MX Player, and more. Even if Trend Micro qualified these as covering only free apps, the numbers still won’t add up.
TechRepublic did its own malware test just to check out those figures and, suffice it to say, even Trend Micro’s own anti-malware suite did not report those same frightening results. They reached out to Trend Micro’s PR company who promptly informed them of a subtle update to the blog post. Now it says at the very bottom, long after people have read the rather misleading claims, that the fake apps were actually gathered from third party sources and not from Google Play Store. Trend Micro supposedly wanted to highlight the dangers of installing apps from untrusted sources, which is definitely true. That said, neither the original report nor the blog post have been updated to reflect this fact.
We realize that Trend Micro wants to make people want to buy or use their software by painting a less than idyllic picture of Google Play Store, but the rather extreme tactics of FUD (Fear, Uncertain, and Doubt) went out of fashion decades ago. While there might be a good number of users who will be swayed by these numbers, the rest of the Internet to which Trend Micro is preaching might be less susceptible, or even less forgiving.