By now, you are pretty much familiar with the pattern. Google keeps fighting malicious actors on the Playstore, but still, the platform remains a habitat to malicious apps. This has been a significant problem to Google Play, and it is hurting its Android ecosystem silently.

Over the last month, over 85 apps Adware-infected gaming, camera and photo editing apps were yanked out of the Playstore. In August alone, a total of 204 malicious apps were found on Google Play.

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But the trend continues…

On September 10th, CSIS, a cybersecurity firm released a report on a new malware dubbed Joker. The malware still involved in ad fraud and had already infected 24 apps in the PlayStore with over 500,000 downloads, in total.

Now in a new incident involving android adware, a NewZealand based security researcher found four VPN apps culprits of the malware. The four apps are all VPN apps hosted on Google Play, with a total of over 500 million downloads.

The four apps in the new incident are Hotspot VPNFree VPN MasterSecure VPN, and Security Master by Cheetah Mobile. Andy Michael stated these apps both served ads while running in the background and also even placed ads in other locations like the home screen.

Hotspot VPN in particular reportedly served ads regardless of whether the app was running in the background or not thus eating up much of the CPU and battery. Secure VPN by SEC VPN was the worst of the four. Secure VPN was found serving ads on top of other apps and could even obscure the home screen with a full-screen ad hiding all the app icons.

Developers opt to use this method as every click/impression provides them revenue and serving ads out of the app result in even more revenue for those chasing a quick buck said Andy Michael in a blog post.

Google has to do something about this. Considering the platform is the official legitimate source of Android apps and is openly struggling with malware-ridden apps. The issue is a cause of concern.

Featured Image: pcmag

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