9 million users affected by adware on Google Play apps: Beware

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An active adware family disguised as game, TV, and remote control simulator apps affected 9 million users on the Google Play store. While hiding itself expertly, the adware displays full-screen advertisements, monitors the device’s screen unlocking action, and runs in the background, as noted in a report by Trend Micro.

About 9 million users downloaded those 85 ‘fake’ apps around the world and after Trend Micro reported it, the fake apps were suspended from the Play store by Google. The fake apps loaded with the adware family were tested and it was revealed that they are from different developers however, they have different APK-certificate public keys, show similar behaviours, and also have the same code.

Recently, Google company has taken actions to remove 85 of their apps from the Play Store as they were found to be infected with adware. As the research shows, about nine million users worldwide have been affected by adware through their mobile phones while downloading apps from the Google Play Store. Such apps are extremely annoying as they interrupt users with intrusive advertisements while they use Android devices. Their main aim is to make income, but there is always a chance of getting infected with malware.

Infected apps on Google Play Store have been hiding under various games, remote control simulating programs, TV apps and similar apps that have always been popular among Android users. For example, the Easy Universal TV Remote, which was also found as infected, was downloaded more than 5 million times. However, once inside the system, the malicious app starts causing annoying pop-ups and pop-unders that might start appearing even when you unlock your mobile phone.

Remote control apps are the most popular fake apps on the Google Play Store

Even though a big variety of fake adware-infected applications have been inserted in the Play Store, the most popular ones are remote control apps, e.g. A/C Remote, TV Remote, Universal TV Remote. According to research, these applications were downloaded had a high rating of four stars, so there is no surprise that users kept installing them. Other infected programs were:

  • Prado Parking City 3D Game
  • Moto Racing
  • Parking Game
  • Police Chase Extreme City 3D Game
  • Garage Door Remote Control
  • A/C Air Conditioner Remote

A cybersecurity company named Trend Micro managed to investigate the apps and found out some important information

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