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Google Removes 29 Malicious Apps From Play Store With Over 10 Million Downloads

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A Quick Heal Security report has revealed that malicious adware apps target users by offering unbelievable functionalities such as X-ray scanning, or magnifying lens.

Twenty-nine malicious apps have been discovered on Google Play Store with a collective download count of more than 10 million, said a new report by Quick Heal Security Labs on September 26. The apps were removed by Google soon after. One of the malicious apps from this set named 'multi-app multiple accounts simultaneously' had crossed 5 million installations and out of the 29 apps, 24 are from 'HiddAd' category that hides the icon after the first launch and creates a shortcut on the home screen of the phone. According to Quick Heal Security Labs, the purpose of the apps is to not let users uninstall it by just dragging the icon.

"The remaining 5 apps are of 'Adware' category and would generally get into your Android phones through advertisements. Users see many advertisements every time they visit social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, etc, which promote different mobile applications. "Many times, these promoted mobile applications boast about a lot of unbelievable functionalities like X-Ray scanning. We came across a few advertisements of some interesting Android apps which claim to offer the functionality of X-Ray scanning. When we explored the App further, we found out that two such apps have crossed 1 million+ downloads already," the company said in a statement.

The 'Adware' apps pretend to offer the functionality of magnifying the view, but in reality, these show heavy advertisement on user's mobile, eventually draining the phone's battery and causing heavy data usage and productivity loss. "Right after the launch, these applications open the camera and show various options like flashlight, gallery, etc. But when the user chooses an option, these apps start full-screen ads, with no option to close or skip," the company added.