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. “The 85 apps had been downloaded over nine million times, and one app, in particular, named ‘Easy Universal TV Remote,’ was downloaded over five million times,” reports ZDNet. From the report: While the apps were uploaded on the Play Store from different developer accounts and were signed by different digital certificates, they exhibited similar behaviors and shared the same code, researchers said in a report published today. But besides similarities in their source code, the apps were also visually identical, and were all of the same types, being either games or apps that let users play videos or control their TVs remotely.
The first time users ran any of the apps, they would proceed to show fullscreen ads in different steps, asking and reasking users to press various buttons to continue. If the user was persistent and stayed with the app until it reached a menu page, every menu button push would trigger yet another fullscreen ad, over and over again until the app would suddenly crash, hiding its original app icon. But despite the crash, unbeknownst to the user, the app would continue to run in the phone’s background, showing new fullscreen ads ever 15 or 30 minutes, generating profits for the fraudsters until users either removed the apps or reset devices to factory settings as a last resort. You can view a list of the 85 adware apps via this PDF file.
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