An app called Barcode Scanner has been found to be delivering adware on people's smartphones, according to a recent report. The app, which is also a Google Play Pass app and has more than 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store has been removed since the discovery, but the developer's account remains active and offers more applications. The discovery was made by cybersecurity research firm Malwarebytes, which said that some of its forum users reported strange behaviour with their browser opening a website that tells them to install a Cleaner app for their phone due to bogus security issues.
Malwarebytes said that it took some time to find the culprits, since many people have had Barcode Scanner installed for years and never had any security issues with it. However, when the security researchers examined Barcode Scanner's latest release, it found some obfuscated code that turned out to be a Trojan responsible for opening the browser and the scary-looking website. From what Barcode Scanner's Play Store listing shows, the app was even a part of Google's official Play Pass program that offers some perks like ad-free premium versions of apps at no additional cost. A report in Android Police suggests that the app may be owned by a different developer now, who still seems to offer a similar or older version of the same app, which was last updated in August 2020.
The Barcode Scanner app, before its removal, was attributed to developer LAVABIRD LTD, which still offers a selection of other apps to this day. The Android Police report also described on how to find out if you've got this particular barcode scanner app on your phone. Here are the steps:
1. Download an app like AppChecker and search for "barcode scanner"
2. If a result with a package name matching "com.qrcodescanner.barcodescanner" shows up, delete that app.
3. Alternatively, users can also try and see if Barcode Scanner's Play Store link is still active on their smartphones.