Android is certainly no stranger to malicious apps. Last month alone saw users warned to delete three third-party camera apps capable of hacking into smartphones and tracking user behaviours. Later in January an alert was issued for two more nefarious apps with the capability to install other programmes on a device without user consent. And now an alert has been issued for 17 other Google Play Store apps that are filled with adware – meaning they’re capable of displaying intrusive ads across a smartphone’s operating system. New research from BitDefender purports 17 Google Play Store apps, with over 550,000 downloads between them, are capable of hiding themselves on user devices before plaguing it with intrusive adware.
The cybersecurity firm explained the apps in question appeared to leapfrog the Google Play Store’s screening process with tricky code that makes it “difficult for security researchers to grasp the logic of the app”.
In a nutshell, each of the apps in question is said to to be capable of displaying ads across a user device, including over other apps. And of course, they are also capable of hiding themselves to make it tricker for Android fans to find and remove them.
Although all the apps in question have since been removed from the Play Store, they received a variety of negative reviews from users complaining of irritating adverts and suspicious behaviour.
One read: “This app went to invisible from the menu and kept consuming battery, and spamming ads on other apps! Don’t download this one.”
Here’s a full list of the apps discovered by BitDefender:
• Car Racing 2019
• 4K Wallpaper (Background 4K Full HD)
• Backgrounds 4K HD
• QR Code Reader & Barcode Scanner Pro
• File Manager Pro – Manager SD Card/Explorer
• VMOWO City: Speed Racing 3D
• Barcode Scanner
• Screen Stream Mirroring
• QR Code – Scan & Read a Barcode
• Period Tracker – Cycle Ovulation Women’s
• QR & Barcode Scan Reader
• Wallpapers 4K, Backgrounds HD
• Transfer Data Smart
• Explorer File Manager
• Today Weather Radar
• Mobnet.io: Big Fish Frenzy
• Clock LED
Each of the apps listed above were not labelled as malware by BitDefender. That said, the cybersecurity firm still encouraged Android users with any of the programmes installed to remove them and install a capable security solution on their device.
Android users should always take care when installing new apps on their device. This is especially true if a programme is offered from an unknown developer. Making sure your device is running the latest software version, paying attention to permissions an app is asking for and frequently backing-up your personal data can all be done to help keep your smartphone safer.
Written by David Minister