App Stores nowadays boast millions of apps and although we have amazing paid and free apps on them, there are some apps that are not what they seem to be.
This is a problem that has been plaguing Google’s Play Store for a while and it seems it won’t be ending soon. According to Trend Micro, there are apps on the Play Store which are adware masquerading as random normal apps and this is a cause for worry.
Trend Micro found 85 TV, game and remote simulator apps on the Play Store that were indeed adware and were running in the background. These ‘apps’ are capable of displaying full-screen ads, monitoring a device screen unlocking functionality and hiding themselves.
Some of the shady apps that they uncovered included the Easy Universal TV Remote , Advanced Air Ambulance and many more. They found that these fake apps come from different makers but they exhibited similar behaviours and share the same code.
When the adware is downloaded, they found out that it initially shows a full screen ad and when you close it, several call to action buttons like ‘start’, ‘open app’ or ‘next’ will appear. If you tap on the call to action buttons, it brings up another full screen ad. This happens frequently and it will also prompt you to give the app a 5 star rating on Google Play. Other apps monitor your screen unlocking actions and show ads each time you unlock your screen.
These 85 apps sadly managed to be downloaded a total of 9 million times worldwide, of which the Easy Universal TV remote takes the cake with over 5 million installs. It is great Trend Micro reported these apps to Google who swiftly suspended the fake apps after verifying the report.
This shows that you don’t have to download every app that is being offered on Google Play if it has sketchy behaviour and in some cases, you might have to format your phone to remove the adware completely.