The Google Play Store has millions of apps with different purposes. However, it has become commonplace, once in a while, to receive a red alert on certain malicious apps.
Avast, a company known for its digital security and privacy products, has discovered a list of 21 adware gaming apps. The company has already reported the issue to Google, and so far, 19 of them had been pulled down when the report was published.
According to SensorTower, a mobile apps marketing intelligence and insights company, these apps were downloaded about 8 million times in total.
These apps once downloaded, displayed intrusive ads even outside them. Besides, they also lured users to download adware which was disguised as gaming apps.
All of these apps, according to the company, are part of the HiddenAds family that the company busted in June and September. The so-called HiddenAds family is a malicious code masked as a safe and useful app whose main function is to serve intrusive ads.
The 21 apps were using YouTube ads, promising users a better gaming experience than what they offer in reality only to bombard users with ads after being downloaded.
“Developers of adware are increasingly using social media channels as regular marketers would. This time, users reported they were targeted with ads promoting the games on YouTube,” said Jakub Vávra, Threat Analyst at Avast. He says social media channels are increasingly becoming an attractive channel also for malicious actors.
Malicious actors have always devised new ways to list their apps on Google Play. Android users should, therefore, be cautious when downloading an app. Always check the application’s reviews, profile page, and beware of apps that need extensive device permissions.
List of 21 Malicious Android Apps
- Shoot Them
- Crush Car
- Rolling Scroll
- Helicopter Attack – NEW
- Assassin Legend – 2020 NEW
- Helicopter Shoot
- Rugby Pass
- Flying Skateboard
- Iron it
- Shooting Run
- Plant Monster
- Find Hidden
- Find 5 Differences – 2020 NEW
- Rotate Shape
- Jump Jump
- Find the Differences – Puzzle Game
- Sway Man
- Money Destroyer
- Desert Against
- Cream Trip – NEW
- Props Rescue