Security Researchers Highlight 17 Android Gaming Apps on Google Play Store That Can Bombard Users With Ads

After receiving a report from the Czech antivirus company, Avast, about twenty-one apps that were infected with codes of adware, Google (so far) decided to take down eighteen of those apps that were consistently reported for showing irrelevant ads (while 3 of them are still available in the Play Store as they are probably in the investigation process).

Avast explained that all twenty-one of the apps were infected with a type of Adware called HiddenAds. HiddenAds is a fairly new strain of malware being discovered only last year. This malware affects only devices using Android operating systems. The malware is installed on the device by being disguised in a seemingly ordinary mobile application. There are probably hundreds of malware, spyware, and virus-infected applications available on the Google Play Store. Once the user installs the infected app onto their device, the application hides its original icon making it difficult to delete. It then shows a lot of irrelevant and annoying ads on opening browser pages with a lot of different ads on different topics or by opening pages for phishing scams. This makes these applications extremely dangerous as unsuspecting individuals could end up losing private and sensitive information.

The majority of these infected ads were modeled after popular video games or were marketed as free alternatives to many paid games from verified developers. This makes children under the age of fifteen the target audience as they are the ones most likely to download these apps and give away info to phishers.

These apps are really easy to misidentify and users should be careful about certain patterns that malicious apps usually follow. Users should shy away from installing apps that have existed for a long time and have little to no reviews or if the reviews seem repetitive and don't seem to be posted by real people, these kinds of apps also ask for extensive system permissions and any permission that doesn't seem to pertain to the apps original function should be either disallowed or the app should be deleted.

Here's the full list of those innocent looking apps that come packed with hidden adware, if you've any of them installed on your Android device be sure to remove/uninstall them right away:
  1. Shoot Them*
  2. Crush Car
  3. Rolling Scroll
  4. Helicopter Attack - NEW
  5. Assassin Legend - 2020 NEW
  6. Helicopter Shoot
  7. Rugby Pass
  8. Flying Skateboard
  9. Iron it
  10. Shooting Run
  11. Plant Monster
  12. Find Hidden
  13. Find 5 Differences - 2020 NEW*
  14. Rotate Shape
  15. Jump Jump
  16. Find the Differences - Puzzle Game*
  17. Sway Man
  18. Money Destroyer
  19. Desert Against
  20. Cream Trip - NEW
  21. Props Rescue
In this day and age, parents should also have conversations with their children about these types of viruses and the dangers that they pose. This is essential as cyber-criminal groups are targeting kids who don't have enough knowledge to recognize threats.

Avast reported that these apps had been downloaded seven million times before they filed their complaint. This shows just how effective these apps are at fooling people and earning from the illegal display of irrelevant and annoying ads.

This incident is not just an anomaly. Cases like this happen regularly and there might be even more that haven't been recognized and removed. Just recently, Google removed 17 apps for WAP billing, then removed more than two hundred and forty apps for showing irrelevant ads.

This just shows the extent to which fraudulent and malicious apps are prevalent in the Play Store.


* These apps are still available on Google Play store.

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