In the past couple of months, we are seeing a surge in fake apps on GooglePlay duping Androidphone users and now, 85 more have detected affecting more than 9 million people. These apps were listed as games, TV and remote control simulator. Moreover, app developers also create false impressions about the installation on the phones and fleece ad agencies of their money. But the scale of the ecosystem still means trouble for many.
You can find a full list here (PDF). After Google was informed of this misbehaviour, the tech giant was swift in suspending all of these apps.
This shows that you don't have to download every app that is being offered on Google Play if it has sketchy behaviour and in some cases, you might have to format your phone to remove the adware completely.
"We tested each of the fake apps related to the adware family and discovered that though they come from different makers and have different APK cert public keys, they exhibit similar behaviours and share the same code", Trend Micro said on the blog.
Google Removes 85 Popular Apps Disguised As Adware
One such application is "Easy Universal TV Remote" which is available for download on Google Play Store. The company adds, "Upon closing the first ad, call to action buttons such as "start", "open app", or "next", as well as a banner ad will appear on the mobile device's screen". These apps, when installed on the smartphone, displayed full-page ads with every button pressed. Once the adware is downloaded and launched on a mobile device it starts showing full screen ad initially as pop ups. You would also expect the king of Android Auto, Google, would have this seemingly simple feature of Android Auto support built into their podcast app, Google Podcasts.
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. However, the app does nothing but bombards the phone with several ads.
Google has removed the apps reported by Trend Micro and the one analyzed by Upstream.
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