ESET researchers has once again found a lot of adware Android apps listed on the Google Play Store and have been very successful there. Over 8 million downloads are said to have been generated by the approximately 40 apps. The goal of the apps was to bring ads to users’ devices to generate more advertising money with plenty of full-screen ads.
The apps involved use several tricks, if the Android user wants to check which app is responsible for the displayed ad, he can display the “Recently used apps”. There, however, another trick is applied. For the malicious app, a Facebook or Google icon is displayed. The adware mimics the two legitimate apps to avoid suspicion. And stay on the affected device for as long as possible.
The adware apps detected include a very familiar type of apps, which include, for example, “Video Downloader”. It’s normal for people to look for such apps, for example, to download YouTube videos to their smartphones without having to become a premium customer on YouTube. A dangerous decision from users who have no idea.
Adware apps are well camouflaged
Once security researchers have discovered such apps, the search for those responsible begins. This creates an interesting search-find game that ESET blog in detail describes. Even clever developers can hide such adware, but will eventually be unmasked. In this case, the developer was not very careful, but eventually became greedy.
“At some point in his ‘career’ on Google Play, he [developer of the apps] apparently decided to boost his advertising revenue by adding adware features to his app’s code. The various camouflage and resistance techniques that are in the app show us that the offender knew about the harmful nature of the extra features and want to keep them hidden”.
The affected apps:
- Smart Gallery
- Video Downloader Master
- MP4 Video Downloader
- Ringtone Maker 2019
- Free Video Downloader
- Water Drink Reminder