As many as 50 malicious apps were discovered to have bypassed Google’s security checks and were available for download on the Google Play store, leading to many millions of installs on Android devices.
ZDNet reports that as many as 50 malicious lifestyle apps successfully bypassed Google’s security checks and were made available for download in the Google Play app store. Researchers from Check Point discovered that six apps were available on the Google Play store were packaged with PreAMo ad fraud malware, these apps were installed 90 million times. Now, the cybersecurity team from Avast has discovered another 50 apps.
These apps mostly related to lifestyle services that posed as legitimate apps but were actually packaged with adware; these apps were downloaded as many as 30 million times. Avast published a report on Tuesday which revealed that the apps were linked to each other via third-party libraries that “bypass the background service restrictions present in newer Android version.”
The Avast researchers stated: “Although the bypassing itself is not explicitly forbidden on the Play Store, Avast detects it as Android:Agent-SEB [PUP], because apps using these libraries waste the user’s battery and make the device slower. The applications use the libraries to continuously display more and more ads to the user, going against Play Store rules.”
The apps display full-page ads to the users and often encourage them to install other adware-filled apps. These apps include Pro Piczoo, Photo Blur Studio, Mov-tracker, Magic Cut Out, and Pro Photo Eraser; the installation of these apps range from one million to one thousand. Two versions of the malware referred to as TsSdk has been found present on the platform, the older of the two was installed 3.6 million times and was hidden in games, photo editing and fitness apps.
Avast has requested that Google remove these apps and so far apps including Pro Piczoo, Photo Blur Studio, and Mov-tracker have been removed from the store.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org