Google has eradicated 85 Android apps from the Google Play Store after security researchers at Trend Micro found they were nothing more than adware posing as legitimate software.
The adware-ridden apps were posing as legitimate services focusing on gaming or photography and yet these apps have netted more than 8 million downloads.
Adware is malware that hides on your device and serves you unwanted advertisements. The malicious apps hide their icon and create a shortcut on your phone’s home screen around 30 minutes after they are installed. This stops them from being uninstalled by simply dragging and dropping the icon to the “uninstall” section.
Meanwhile, in order to display unwanted advertisements, the app registers a broadcast receiver to check if the user has unlocked the device. Once conditions are met, the ads are displayed on a full screen. Users have to watch the entire the ad before they can close it or go back to app itself.
Thankfully, the apps are no longer available. After Trend Micro disclosed its findings to Google, the adware-embedded apps were removed from the Play store.
However, for those already affected, Trend Micro has some tips to help lessen the adware’s impact. The researchers point out that the latest Samsung Android devices have a feature that restricts the creation of shortcuts on the home screen, which can help users uninstall it.
You can find a list of the apps here.