The team, from the University and CSIRO's Data61 unit, investigated more than a million apps and found 2040 counterfeits over a period of two years, a statement from the University said.
“Many fake apps appear innocent and legitimate – smartphone users can easily fall victim to app impersonations and even a tech-savvy user may struggle to detect them before installation,” explained School of Computer Science academic and cyber security expert Dr Suranga Seneviratne.
“In an open app ecosystem like Google Play the barrier to entry is low so it’s relatively easy for fake apps to infiltrate the market, leaving users at risk of being hacked."
“While Google Play’s success is marked by its flexibility and customisable features that allow almost anyone to build an app, there have been a number of problematic apps that have slipped through the cracks and have bypassed automated vetting processes.
NSW Cyber Security Network director Todd Williams believes the research has the potential to place New South Wales on the map as a leader in cyber security.
“The NSW Cyber Security Network is very pleased to be able to support the world-leading research of the University of Sydney. This research further strengthens NSW as a leader in cyber security."