Almost 238 apps with over 440 million installs combined have been found to contain the BeiTaAd, a malware plugin that’s been making users phones start to behave strangely. The apps once installed take time before they go rogue. The adware is carefully concealed in Google-approved apps is so aggressive that it rendered users mobile phones useless.
This new revelation comes from mobile security provider Lookout. According to the researchers, BeiTaAd was found hidden in Touchpal keyboard plus other 237 apps published by China-based CooTek. The apps with the adware hide for a while after the app is installed and later on after a week or so start rearing its maliciousness as they start to deliver out-of-app ads.
These ads then appear on your lock screen while also trigger audio and video at random times. According to a thread discusing this adware, users shared how their normal day to day use of their phones got interrupted by these annoying ads including calls getting disrupted.
The developers of these apps went to great lengths to hide this malware and according to Ars Technica, Lookout alerted Google which then removed the apps. Some of these apps have been updated to versions without the BeiTa Plugin and you can check the full list of the apps here.
Google needs to do a better job of scrutinizing apps published on its app store plus extensively check sideloaded apps using its Play Protect feature. Users are now getting skeptical of how malicious apps get past through them to be published on Google Play.