The Google Play store has gifted us with great apps and magnificent developers over the past years. The Android Apps have a construction which expects to serve as much as necessary but not goes beyond the limits in business to cause severe inconvenience and affect the handset.
Recently the news has been around a huge fraudulent franchise in Play store where dozens of Android adware apps disguised as photo-editing apps and games have been caught serving ads. The ads take over users’ screens as part of a fraudulent money-making scheme and victimized regular users.
Trend Micro, a trusted security firm, has reported 85 individual apps On Google Play that has been downloaded more than eight million times and have since been removed from the app store.
According to the researchers
“More often than not adware apps will run on a user’s device and will silently serve and click ads in the background and without the user’s knowledge to generate ad revenue. But these apps were particularly brazen and sneaky”.
The researchers figured out that these apps would keep a record of when they were installed and sit dormant for around half-an-hour. After the delay, the app would hide its icon and create a shortcut on the user’s home screen which helped to protect the app from being uninstalled.
“These ads are shown in full screen,” said Xu.
“Users are forced to view the whole duration of the ad before being able to close it or go back to the app itself.”
When the app unlocked, it displayed ads on the user’s home screen. The code also checks to make sure it doesn’t show the same ad too frequently, the researchers said.
“It isn’t your run-of-the-mill adware family,” said Ecular Xu, a mobile threat response engineer at Trend Micro.
“Apart from displaying advertisements that are difficult to close, it employs unique techniques to evade detection through user behavior and time-based triggers.”
The ads can be remotely configured by the fraudster, which forms the worst part of the issue since it allows ads to be displayed more frequently than the default intervals.
Trend Micro provided a list of the apps — including Super Selfie Camera, Cos Camera, Pop Camera, and One Stroke Line Puzzle — all of which had a million downloads each.
Tech crunch addresses the issue as
“Users about to install the apps had a dead giveaway: most of the apps had appalling reviews, many of which had as many one-star reviews as they did five-stars, with users complaining about the dialog acknowledging.”
Google refrains from commenting on any app removal, going a step ahead of acknowledging their removal from Google Play.