Dr. Web’s antivirus team has found a handful of malware and adware apps in Google Play Store that are masquerading as system optimizers and utility apps.
All these combined have over two million downloads – with one of them amassing over half of that count and still in the Play Store at the time of writing this! Google removed the rest of the apps reported by the researchers. Here are they;
Adware Apps in Play Store
Though Google allows apps with stringent policies to enter its Play Store, some apps often get around this check. And there’s nothing Google can do unless someone reports it or the in-built Play Protect catches it upon suspicion.
Well, there are always third-party researchers who constantly check for malicious apps in the wild and warn the community. And Dr. Web is one among them, who recentlyon a bunch of malicious apps prevailing in the Google Play Store.
These apps were masquerading as useful utilities and system optimizers but were loaded with adware and malware, causing performance drops and displaying ads. One among them is TubeBox, with over a million downloads – and it is still up in the Play Store at the time of writing this.
TubeBox promises monetary rewards for watching videos and ads on its app but never delivers them. Users, when trying to redeem their balance, are often blocked with various errors, and the ones who tried to withdraw successfully have never received the promised sum.
Well, it’s said to be the developer’s plan to keep users on the platform – and generate them revenue by watching ads. Other apps that Dr. Web researchers reported are;
- Bluetooth device auto connect (from bt autoconnect group) – 1,000,000 downloads
- Bluetooth & Wi-Fi & USB driver (from simple things for everyone) – 100,000 downloads
- Volume, Music Equalizer (from bt autoconnect group) – 50,000 downloads
- Fast Cleaner & Cooling Master (from Hippo VPN LLC) – 500 downloads
All these apps were removed from the Play Store after being reported. But when up, they used to receive commands from Firebase Cloud Messaging and load the websites with specified commands – thereby generating fraudulent ad impressions on the infected devices.
To safeguard yourself from such apps, always keep the Google Play Protect feature active and upgrade the apps whenever there’s an update available.