With the constant growth of mobile market, there has been a sharp increase in malicious ‘adware’ – the most widespread mobile threat in the world. And once again, security researchers have found malicious apps that are infecting Android users with the help of adware, in Google Play Store.
There are a number of unwanted intrusions surrounding the Android operating system. They gain a user’s attention quite easily, making them their victim.
What Is Adware?
Adware is a software that naturally exhibits or downloads advertising material such as pop-ups or banners, when a user is online. It may not sound dangerous, but an adware can cause serious threat for the user.
Users’ privacy can be easily threatened by an Android Adware, as there are some ad networks that gather personal information such as email address, phone number and a lot more. Depending on the location of the ad network, there may be no legal guidelines on how the information can later be used.
Malicious Apps Being Installed 15 Million Times
Google Play store has three popular gaming apps, which can infect a device when installed. The interesting thing to note is that some of these apps have been downloaded at least a million times.
These three apps are – ‘IQ Test’ app, ‘Durak’ card game app and ‘Russian History’ app. Different developers have created these apps, but each of them has a similar malicious software installed.
Durak card game, which is one of the most popular apps, alone has 5 to 10 million installs. The combination of these three apps have approximately 15 million installs, as per the data on Google Play Store.
How Does Your Device Get Infected
Once the malicious app is installed on users’ smartphone, it displays advertisements that are disguised as warning messages, infecting the device when users unlock their Android smartphones.
After almost a month of starting to spam out adverts, users will start seeing ads each time they unlock their device. These ads may warn them of their device being infected, being full of porn, or needing an update, which of course will be completely untrue.
If you approve of these ads, you will be redirected to pages, which will cause more harm. You may even get signed up for an SMS service without being aware about it. Some apps may simply collect your personal data without providing any additional value.
Adware Also Directs Users to Genuine Security Apps
These ads may also direct users towards legitimate security applications, through Google Play Store pages. Such threats are an example of good social engineering. As of now these malicious apps have been pulled out of Google’s official store.
Using Google Play Store to spread malware with the help of malicious apps, is a breach of Google’s Terms of Service. If they are detected, the app will be taken out of the play store along with its developer’s license being canceled. But, Google’s security measures are not able to detect the same, when it comes to Adware.