9 million Android users downloaded fake, adware-packed apps: Details here
The problem of bad apps sneaking into Google Play Store is far from over.
And now, they have found a batch of as many as 85 apps that did nothing but serve adware to over nine million Android users.
Here's what happened.
Apps, games served ads on Android
Free apps can serve ads because that's the only way for their developers to earn money and sustain their business models.
But, at times, shady app-makers use this trick and turn to adware to flood users' phones with ads and generate a quick buck.
This is exactly what Trend Micro researchers witnessed after analyzing 85 apps, including popular racing games and TV simulators.
Adware displayed full-screen, hidden ads
All 85 apps, downloaded over nine million times, came from different developers but shared the same code.
Their behavior was also pretty similar; users were shown a full-screen ad after every single action to see the main content of the apps.
Plus, after displaying ads a few times, some apps disappeared and hid their icon to keep running and display automatic pop-up ads.
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Pop-ad behavior was slightly different
Some apps displayed pop-up ads on the infected device after a set 15-30 minutes, while others were coded to show full-screen ads after every screen unlock. Also, one app from the flagged batch, dubbed 'Easy Universal TV Remote', was downloaded 5 million times.
Why such apps are risky?
Apps like these are not as dangerous as those capable of phishing user details or stealing their files using malware.
But, they do disrupt the Android experience and can even be malicious sometimes.
As TechCrunch explains, some ads could carry a hidden code which may trick unsuspecting Android users into installing malware on their devices.
It could then compromise your security.
Fake apps removed, but question remains
Google was quick to act on Trend Micro's report and remove all adware-based apps.
However, the company has not commented on the matter or explained how the apps managed to sneak into the store in the first place.
This has been a major problem for Google, which, despite trying hard to improve its back-end moderation practices, is still letting some apps to sneak through.
Easy Universal TV Remote
Google Play Store
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