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Fake Apps with Ads Downloaded by Eight Million Users | Security

More than eight million Android phone users have downloaded ad-infected apps from the Google Play store. According to information released by cybersecurity company Trend Micro on Friday (16), 85 malicious applications have disguised themselves as games and image editors to fraudulently serve advertisements and generate profit. All apps have already been removed from the store.

Mixture of words advertising (advertising, in English) and software, the term adware refers to applications and programs designed to distribute advertising on a user's device. They usually run in the background, clicking on ads and generating revenue without the victim's consent. However, the adware found on the Play Store was especially sophisticated, according to Trend Micro researchers.

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Google Play Store has removed 85 ad-masked adware from photo apps and games Photo: Reproduo / Rodrigo FernandesGoogle Play Store has removed 85 ad-masked adware from photo apps and games Photo: Reproduo / Rodrigo Fernandes

Google Play Store has removed 85 ad-masked adware from photo apps and games Photo: Reproduo / Rodrigo Fernandes

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"It's not a common adware family. In addition to displaying ads that are difficult to close, it employs unique techniques to prevent detection through user behavior and time-based triggers," explained Ecular Xu, a device threat expert engineer Micro Trend.

Once installed, fake applications remained inactive for about half an hour as they hid their icon and created a shortcut on the user's home screen. According to the researchers, the strategy helped prevent adware from being deleted if the user decided to drag and drop the shortcut to the "uninstall" button.

When the app was unlocked, it displayed ads in full screen. "Users are forced to view the entire duration of the ad before they can close it or return to the app itself," said Xu. He added that the display frequency of advertisements could be remotely set by the fraudster. This would make it possible to bypass the standard five-minute break and generate an even greater profit.

Trend Micro released a list of rogue applications, which were generally poorly rated on the Play Store and users complained about the "deluge" of pop-up ads. Super Selfie Camera, Cos Camera, Pop Camera and One Stroke Line Puzzle are a few examples each with about a million downloads.

Google doesn't often comment on removing apps from its official store.

To avoid installing fake apps that contain malicious code, it is important to always check the developer and program ratings in the store. It is also valid to install an antivirus on your smartphone to increase your protection against malware and other types of hacks. O TechTudo prepared a list of the best options for Android in 2019.

Via Trend Micro and TechCrunch

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