Written byRamya Patelkhana ·
Despite Google's efforts to prevent malicious apps from reaching Android devices, some harmful apps still manage to make their way through the Play Store.
Recently, 22 apps that enabled clickfraud, including some popular ones, were taken down by Google.
However, devices that still have these apps installed are at risk and users must delete these immediately.
Here are the apps you must uninstall now.
Google reportedly removed the 22 apps from its app store after security software and hardware company Sophos discovered that "unscrupulous mobile app developers" were using these apps for clickfraud (pay-per-click online advertising-related fraud).
The security company also said that these apps were hosted in the Play Store until last month.
Collectively, all these had been downloaded more than 2 million times.
Surprisingly, some popular apps offering the very useful LED flashlight feature, including Sparkle Flashlight (with 1,000,000-5,000,000 downloads) and Just Flashlight (100,000-500,000 downloads), are among the 22 clickfraud apps.
Flight fare and hotel price comparison app, Tak A Trip (50,000-100,000 downloads), and MagnifEye (50,000-100,000 downloads), which turns the phone camera into a lighted magnifying glass for reading, are also on the list.
Several apps offering addictive games to Android users have also been removed for enabling clickfraud.
They include Snake Attack (100,000-500,000 downloads), math gaming app Math Solver (50,000-100,000 downloads), and puzzle gaming app ShapeSorter (1,000-5,000 downloads).
Other popular matching and puzzle gaming apps like Join Up (50,000-100,000) and Jelly Slice (10,000-50,000) were also taken down last month by the tech giant.
Addictive shooter game app Zombie Killer (100,000-500,000), Space Rocket (10,000-50,000 downloads), Neon Pong table tennis game app (10,000-50,000 downloads), Table Soccer (50,000-100,000 downloads), AK Blackjack casino game (10,000-50,000 downloads) are also among the apps removed.
Other gaming apps, including Cliff Diver, Box Stack, Color Tiles, Animal Match, Roulette Mania, HexaFall, and HexaBlocks with 10,000-50,000 downloads each, and PairZap (1,000-5,000 downloads) also showed malicious behavior.
In its report, Sophos stated: "From the user's perspective, these apps drain their phone's battery and may cause data overages as the apps are constantly running and communicating with servers in the background.
"Furthermore, the devices are fully controlled by the C2 server (command-and-control server) and can potentially install any malicious modules upon the instructions of the server," Sophos further warned.
"The biggest surprise... was not that the clickfraud had gone on, unnoticed, in some cases for months or years, but that these Android apps were posing as Apple devices to advertisers, possibly in order to earn a premium return on their criminal activity," Sophos said.
Love Science news?
Subscribe to stay updated.