9 million people infected by adware from 85 Google Play Store apps

85 adware-infected apps removed from the Google Play Store

9 million people infected by adware from 85 Google Play Store apps85 adware-infected applications were found in the Google Play Store and have been successfully removed.

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[2] 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:[4]

We tested each of the fake apps related to the adware family and discovered that though they come from different makers and have different APK cert public keys, they exhibit similar behaviors and share the same code.

Furthermore, it is known that if you download the infected application, you will experience various pop-ups, pop-unders, and banner ads frequently. This type of activity will intrude your work and slow down the Android device. Even though the adware program can be removed manually, it might not be that easy to accomplish as advertising posts might pop out and intrude the cleaning process.

After being informed, Google removed all of the infected applications

After receiving a report from Trend Micro, Google deleted all infected apps from its Play Store.[5] However, if the users still keep these infected apps on their phones, the annoying activity will remain. To get rid of adware permanently, an automatic process is recommended.

Google took some precautionary measures in the past to avoid malware-laden programs or PUAs from entering mobile devices through Play Store apps. However, it is clear that hackers are prepared to change their tactics according to presented changes well.

This example gives you yet another reason to be very careful while choosing programs to download to your phone. Always check the reviews that are left by people who have already downloaded the wanted application. Furthermore, try to install applications which come from original and well-known providers. This will decrease the risk of getting infected by a potentially unwanted program such as adware. Additionally, always be careful on what you are clicking in your phone, avoid unrecognizable content and use antivirus protection.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

Olivia Morelli is News Editor at 2-Spyware.com. She covers topics such as computer protection, latest malware trends, software vulnerabilities, data breaches, and more.

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