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Google Play Store Apps with AdWare threat to Android Security

“When you install Durak, it seems to be a completely normal and well working gaming app. This was the same for the other apps. This impression remains until you reboot your device and wait for a couple of days. After a week, you might start to feel there is something wrong with your device. Some of the apps wait up to 30 days until they show their true colors.” 

Avast’s malware analyst Filip Chytry commenting on the Avast blog about the  Aware found in three (3) Apps on the Google Play Store

People in Google Android land totin’ Smartphone!! Be warned, as there’s danger in them Apps!! A recent post by Security firm Avast identified three malicious Apps that contain AdWare Trojans.

This is yet another worry to add to your plate! The news comes on the heels of the January 2015 revelation of an API (Application interface) Web referencing bug that’s lurking inside of already bug-ridden Google Android 4.3 Jellybean or older Tablets and Smartphone as reported in Android Browser Security Unfixed as Google Wants you to Upgrade to Lollipop!

Android-L-googlei-o

That might not be so bad if the trojans just served up Advertising. What’s so shocking is that the AdWare is INSIDE of Apps in the Google Play Store, not a Third party Apps Store.

Worse, it’s hitching a ride into your smartphone on three (3) popular Apps, one of which is an App called the Durak card game that’s got some 5 million downloads since its Wednesday November 12th, 2014 when it went live on the Google Play Store.

To be clear, if you have any of these Apps on your smartphone, please remove them:

  • Durak card game App
  • An unnamed IQ test App
  • A Russian history App

What kinda virus is that you ask wistfully?

I’ll explain, but promise me you’ll heed my words and just REMOVE these Apps stat…..’cause the Russian Mob may have stolen your Credit Card and other personal information! 

Google Play Store Apps with AdWare – Russian Mob probably stealing your ID again

It’s the kind that flashes you annoying pop up ads after being installed along with your App in your smartphone, sorta like the pop-up ads you may also see after you install free software on your computer. Good to note I have a procedure to fix that the of virus on PX, and Laptops, often cause by Rootkits or Trojan Virus as noted in How to remove Rootkit Virus or hidden Folder Virus using Bootable Rescue Discs.

But it doesn’t go to work at the same time. Rather, it remains dormant until the smartphone is rebooted. After that, you’ll be bombarded with a long string of pop-up ads, often initiated when the device is unlocked.

Nothing harmless about ads right, you might think, as a lot of games use in-App advertising to make money as noted in In-App purchasing falters as Freemium in-App advertising for mobile Games is the Real Moneychanger .

But here according to the good folks at Avast, one of my favourite and most trusted Anti-virus programs, is the catfish. The ads redirect your Google Play Browser to Apps in third-party App stores that will give you nightmares:

  • Apps that send Premium SMS Messages, using up your smartphone credit or megabytes, depending on how you roll
  • Apps that collect personal information e.g. Name, Address, Credit Card numbers and PIN (Personal Identification Numbers), SSN (Social Security Numbers) etc

As Avast’s malware analyst Filip Chytry puts it rather dryly in his Avast blog post, quote: “If you approve you get re-directed to harmful threats on fake pages, like dubious app stores and apps that attempt to send premium SMS behind your back or to apps that simply collect too much of your data for comfort while offering you no additional value. An even bigger surprise was that users were sometimes directed to security apps on Google Play. These security apps are, of course, harmless, but would security providers really want to promote their apps via AdWare?” 

AdWare plays doctor – Redirects to Google Play Store Security Apps suggest Avast just uncovered competition

But even stranger still, is that these three (3) Apps also flash pop-up ads that redirect the users to anti-virus programs WITHIN Google Play Store.

Apparently the makers of these three (3) Apps that have the AdWare embedded in their coding apparently are deliberately causing problems on the Smartphone.

google-play-logo

Effectively, they’re trying to sell you on legit Google Play Store Antivirus Apps, making sure that you’re always using one of the products they’re promoting. No doubt collecting money for every referral that they get for these legit antivirus companies!

Note that Avast says they’re legit antivirus programs within Google Play Store, suggesting that Avast may be uncovering not just an Identity theft AdWare, but also some very clever and persistent competition in the Antivirus Security game.

So young man reading this article don’t be silly. Put a rubbers pon you will-nilly downloading of Apps….’cause AdWare a ‘go round’ and me doh wah ketch it!!

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.

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