Researchers of britnica company Sophos, a developer of digital security solutions, discovered 15 malicious apps available on the Google Play Store designed to infect Android devices with adware. After installation, the apps would display excess advertising ads. According to a study released last Tuesday (8), the programs reached over 1.3 million people around the world.
In order to keep the advertising strategy from being discontinued by the user, applications would hide the tray icons themselves, making uninstallation difficult. Some of them disguised themselves on the Android settings page, using names and icons similar to system services, confusing the user.
Fake apps with ads were downloaded by eight million users
Malicious apps spawned ads and hid not to be uninstalled on Android Photo: Playback / Sophos
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Most apps were featured on the Play Store as image editors, QR code readers, phone finders, or device backup and cleaning utilities. According to the report, Google was notified by Sophos in July, and apps have already been removed from the store. See below the names of the 15 malicious applications:
- Flash On Calls & Messages
- Read QR Code
- Imagine Magic
- Generate Elves
- QR Artifact
- Find Your Phone: Whistle
- Scavenger — speed guard
- Auto Cut Out Pro
- Background Cut Out
- Photo Background
- Background Cut Out New
- Auto cut out
- Auto Cut Out 2019
One of the apps began to act criminally right after installation. An error alert displayed the message "This app is incompatible with device", then displaying the Google Maps page on the Play Store, leading the user to believe that the map application was causing an inconsistency. Then the program was hidden from the app tray and began displaying ads. Some of them started adwares only appear after a certain time after installation.
In order to disguise itself between system apps and mislead users, apps took on false names like "Google Play Store", "Update", "Backup" or "Time Zone Service", also displaying icons similar to those of original Android services. .
Apps took on Android system service names to confuse users Photo: Playback / Sophos
Apps have been added Play Store in the interval between January and April this year. Although they were marketed by different accounts, some of them had similar code structure, interface, package names, and behavior. Still, it cannot be said that the same person or group is responsible for all of them.
If you have downloaded one of the applications, we recommend uninstalling it immediately. If it is not visible in the app tray, go to Settings and go to Apps & Notifications. Recently opened applications will appear in this list, allowing deletion.
If you don't find the suspicious icon on your screen, try viewing it in the Android app settings. When you find a suspicious app, open the item and tap "Stop Stop". If it is a standard system app, it will display the "Disable" option, but if it is an external app, show "Uninstall". Appearing this last option, remove it immediately.
Before downloading apps in stores, you should be aware of reviews from other users. All the apps mentioned above were widely criticized in the comments for the adware. It also gives preference to services that you have heard about and that have a good reputation. Also, it is not recommended to be one of the first users to try apps. Lastly, it is always valid to keep antivirus software installed on your device. See the best options for Android in 2019.
How to Remove Virus on an Android Phone