Google removes 85 adware apps that were installed by millions of users

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Google has removed 85 Android apps from the official Play Store that security researchers from Trend Micro deemed to contain a common strain of adware.

None of the apps had real functionality and their true goal was to make money for their developer by dropping a deluge of advertisements on the devices that installed them.

The apps, purportedly TV and video players and controllers, would consistently show full-screen ads until they crashed. These "apps" are capable of displaying full-screen ads, monitoring a device screen unlocking functionality and hiding themselves.


The most popular of the fraudulent apps was Easy Universal TV Remote, last updated on November 12, 2018. It is unclear how long it survived in Google Play, but it accumulated over five million installations. Beware of Fake Apps!

Its changelog shows details from version 1.2, when the developer announced compatibility with Ikea televisions (Uppleva), a project the retailer started in 2012 and is at the second generation since 2014. They found that these fake apps come from different makers but they exhibited similar behaviours and share the same code. Once the adware is downloaded and launched on a mobile device it starts showing full screen ad initially as pop ups. Fake PMJAY Ayushman Bharat Registration Apps: Government Releases List of 64 Mobile Applications, Warns Users From Downloading Them. You would also expect the king of Android Auto, Google, would have this seemingly simple feature of Android Auto support built into their podcast app, Google Podcasts. Afterward, they'd bombarded with full-screen ads through the entire app navigation. It still runs in the background, though, launching an add every 15 or 30 minutes. After this, the app informs the user that it is loading and then it disappears from the smartphone screen and the hides its icon on the device. Fake Apps of SBI, ICICI, Axis And Other Banks on Google Play May Have Stolen Data of Customers: Report.

This shows that you don't have to download every app that is being offered on Google Play if it has sketchy behaviour and in some cases, you might have to format your phone to remove the adware completely.

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