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Google Play Store Removes Adware Apps With Over 1.5 Million Downloads

Google Play Store Removes Adware Apps With Over 1.5 Million Downloads

Sun Pro Beauty Camera and Funny Sweet Beauty Selfie Camera were both found to be serving up malicious full-screen adware and were removed from Google Play Store.

Google has removed two malicious Android apps from the Play Store which were apparently downloaded over 1.5 million times. After Wandera's threat research team found the apps were serving up adware, they reported the issue to Google which has taken it off from the Play Store. The two malicious apps, Sun Pro Beauty Camera, and the Funny Sweet Beauty Selfie Camera had been installed 1 million times and over 500,000 times respectively. After analyzing the apps, researchers saw there was a difference in the behaviour of the two apps.

For Sun Pro Beauty Camera, it was found that full-screen ads were difficult to close even if the user restarted the device. On the other hand, Funny Sweet Beauty Camera showed that the full-screen ads begin to appear outside of the app only when a filtered photo is downloaded via the app, locally on the device. Wandera further reported that the functionality of these two apps was similar to the adware apps found by Trend Micro back in August.

"Adware is usually viewed as a nuisance for the end-user. However, mobile adware can kill productivity leading to more serious repercussions for businesses. Intrusive out-of-app ads interrupt users in the middle of their workflow, brick their devices, drain the device battery, and in some cases, infected devices need to be replaced altogether. Adware enables authors to make money from affected devices and while it is typically regarded as more of a nuisance than a severe threat, these particular apps have more advanced functionality than your average adware," reported Wandera.

Dan Cuddeford, director of sales engineering at Wandera said, "It's not the first time we've seen bad apps make it onto an official app store. Unfortunately, the vetting carried out by these official stores is largely focused on user experience. Malware authors are very clever at hiding malicious functionality but there are usually some telltale signs," he added.