Ever downloaded an app and then suddenly see more ads that are even harder to remove than before? If you have, then you’ve probably downloaded an adware-laden app.
Now, Google is removing 85 apps that were found to be hiding particularly sneaky adware.
Adware In Apps
Security researchers at Trend Micro found adware embedded in 85 apps in the Play Store, and millions of users have already been affected. These apps were disguised as fully functioning photography and gaming apps so well that they have been downloaded a combined 8 million times.
The adware researchers discovered, AndroidOS_Hidenad.HRXH is a particularly sneaky one because apart from displaying hard-to-close ads that were sometimes even five minutes long, it also can evade detection. They would even replace the icons on the home screen so that the app would remain functioning even after the users have uninstalled what they thought was the app.
Apps Removed From Play Store
Specifically affected by the adware are those using devices running on older versions of Android. This is because Android 8.0 and newer versions ask for confirmation before creating a shortcut, thereby alerting the users to any unknown activity by the adware-laden app.
Super Selfie, Cos Camera, Pop Camera, and One Stroke Line Puzzle are just some of the adware-laden apps discovered by researchers, but a full list can be found here.
After researchers disclosed their findings to Google, the company immediately removed the 85 apps from the Play Store. This is not the first time that Google has had to remove apps from the Play Store due to adware. Just last March Google took down 206 apps that were found to have the adware SimBad, but not before they racked up 150 million downloads.
Adware is unwanted software that is designed to display ads on the screen. Often, these are disguised as other software, in the current case as fully-functioning apps, to trick users into installing them. Once installed, that is when users are bombarded with ads such as those for miracle weight loss, offers to get rich quickly, and bogus virus warnings.
While they do not seem too harmful and are for the most part annoying, cybercriminals cash in for pestering the victims of adware, and they can cost companies heavy financial losses.