Google Android Play Store under adware attack; 42 adware apps downloaded million times

ESET Researchers’ has found more than 40 apps in Google Android Play Store containing adware wrecking a mess serving unwanted and scam ads to its users to indulge them in money extracting schemes. Another warning has been issued to the users after the ESET researcher’s discovered more than 8 million downloads of such apps from the Google Play Store over a year.

Some of these apps include Video Downloader Master, which had five million downloads, and Ringtone Maker Pro, Savelnsta, and Tank Classic, with 5 million downloads each. Half of these apps have been already removed from the Google Play Store when ESET reported about the same.
And all these apps are removed by Google, but they are still available in third-party stores, said Lukas Stefanko, ESET Researcher.

Now, what is adware? Well, adware refers to a kind of malware that keeps itself hidden on your device by mimicking that of other apps like Facebook and Google to avoid suspicion and detection. They serve users unwanted Advertisements and even scam ads trapping them into an unending phishing cycle. Top it off, adware affected apps also drains your battery way faster, resulting in low battery life.

“The adware mimics Facebook and Google app to look legitimate and avoid suspicion-and stay on the affected device for as long as possible,” says Stefanko.


Especially, Rogue apps are really difficult to identify as each of them provides the same promised functionality like gaming, video downloading, radio play, and also adware. Rogue apps are counterfeit apps designed to duplicate trusted brand apps such as Google, Facebook, and YouTube, etc.

And I guess it should be obvious by now that these apps are sure to take your mobile down. And should be deleted without any second thought whatsoever! Some of these apps are Smart Gallery, SaveInsta, Mini lite for Facebook, Free Radio FM online, Free video Downloader, File Downloader, Water Drink Reminder, Smart Notes for you, DU Recorder, Tank Classic, Heroes Jump, Solucionario de Bai, Ringtone maker, Video downloader, video maker pro, Basketball perfect, HikeTop+, Mp4 Video Downloader, Flat Music Player, Free Top Video Downloader.

To avoid detection, these apps mimic other apps and at times, even stops showing ads to escape the Google Play Security mechanism. Apple’s users should also be wary and check their Phones for these malicious apps as according to ESET apps having adware in them are also available in the Apple App’s Store.

Although adware is not that damaging as some other forms of malware, the fact that it can build a camouflage and hid itself to sneak into the official Android app store very easily is the most “Disturbing” says Stefanko.

Therefore users should always install an app after much scrutiny and only from the official Play-Store, warns Sean Wright, Independent Security Researcher.

He also adds, “Google has a team of researchers Project Zero, who scrutinize other apps and services. Perhaps Google should now start scrutinizing its Play Store given the sheer amount of malicious apps that have been identified in it-most often via organizations outside of Google. They are a large company, so it’s likely they have the resources to tackle this.” “Users should protect their devices by sticking with the basic cybersecurity principles and using a quality security solution,” Stefanko advises.

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