Apps are tools that basically make our smartphone useful. However, having the wrong app(s) installed on your device can make your smartphone usage experience pretty miserable. There are certain malicious applications designed to basically deliver unwanted pop-up ads and ‘viruses’ to your smartphone. While these malicious apps can be removed from a device in several ways, they are sometimes difficult to identify.
Thanks to a recent report by Trend Micro’s Security Intelligence Blog, about 85 malicious apps (Adwares) disguised as authentic Gaming, Photography, and Utility apps on the Google Play Store have been exposed. The report revealed that these apps have been installed about 8 million times on several Android smartphones and once installed, they spam users with adverts and drain battery life.
What’s even worse is that these adware-laden apps make it extremely difficult for users to uninstall them. Here’s how. Trend Micro’s investigation into the applications code revealed that these apps hide their icon from the main app tray 30 minutes after a user installs them on their smartphone. Afterward, the apps then create a shortcut on the device’s home screen. Hiding icons from the app tray means users will not be able to easily uninstall by simply dragging and dropping them into the Uninstall section/bin.
Apart from displaying advertisements that are difficult to close, it employs unique techniques to evade detection through user behavior and time-based triggers.
Further investigations into the code of these apps revealed that they force Ads to the screen of the devices they’re installed on (in full mode/full screen) and users have no choice but to view the entire Ad as there is no option to close them; so users have to wait the entire duration (some are 5 minutes long) of the Ads.
Applaudably, Trend Micro have reported findings of its report to Google and the search engine giant have effectively removed the apps from the Play Store to prevent new users from installing them. For the 8 million people that have already installed the apps on their smartphones, however, they are advised to manually uninstall the apps from their devices immediately.
Some of the apps include QR Code Scanner, Toy Blast, Background Eraser, Color House, super Selfie, Find Differences, Hi Music Play, and more. Check out the full list of 85 malicious apps in the report and ensure you don’t have any of them installed on your device. If you do, you know what to do.