Google removes 15 adware-laced applications from the Play Store

Date:14 October 2019 Author: Kyro Mitchell Tags:, , , , , , , , ,

Android users across the world are being urged to delete these 15 applications after it was found that they expose your mobile device to intrusive ‘adware’. Adware is a type of software that automatically displays or downloads advertising material to your device. An app developer is required by law to notify the user when their product uses adware. However, the applications mentioned below break this law by continuously running ads in the background of the device without the users knowledge.

Security experts, Sophos Labs, warns that once these apps are installed on to your device, they have the ability to flood a smartphone with hundreds of ads, either directly on the screen, or in the background of the device. When the user inevitably tries deletes the malicious app, it changes it’s own icon to resemble a regular android system application.

One of the apps, called ‘Free Calls Messages’ has a particularly clever way of preventing users from uninstalling the app. When a person first launches the application, it displays a message saying “this application is incompatible with your device!”. To the everyday users, this message may sound like the application has simply crashed, or doesn’t work, but that is not the case. After displaying the ‘incompatible’ message, the app directly links the user to the Google Maps application within the Play Store. It does this to mislead you into thinking that Google Maps might be the problem, but this is all just a trick.

While the user is being navigated to Google Maps, The malicious app changes it’s own icon to prevent the user from finding it once they return to their home screen. More often then not, the application will disguise itself as a ‘Back up, or System files’ to fool the user into thinking that it has disappeared. Other harmful applications use the same tactic of changing their icons to avoid detection. Some do this upon first launching the app, while others wait a few hours before changing their icon.

Google has taken note of this issue by removing all of the 15 mischievous apps from the Play Store. However, more than 1.5 million people have already installed the apps, so there are undoubtedly people who still have these applications installed onto their devices.

Here are few tips for keeping your device safe from any malicious applications.

1. Always keep your device updated with the latest software. Both Google and Android regularly send out firmware updates to protect against these situations.
2. Install a premium anti-virus software onto your device. Not only will it offer 24/7 protection against applications these, a high quality anti-virus will also protect you from any harmful websites you visit throughout the day.
3. Only download applications from the certified Google Play Store. Never download apps from the web or a third party app store, as these stores have no way of regulating what applications are uploaded to their platform, meaning anyone could upload a malicious app for you to download.

Images: SophosLabs Blog/Pixabay.

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