Millions of Android Users Duped: Adware for Android in Google Play Shows Millions of Downloads
The digital world is steadily shifting into another level. Now, users are spending more time on the internet because they are online in their mobile devices. Gone are the days when people have to get in their homes or offices to log on to the internet. Now, anyone can be connected whether they are in the car, strolling around the park, or anywhere that there is connection.
The sale of mobile devices from cellular phones to tabs and now watches and glasses have opened the world to constant connection. It appears that with this progress comes another price to pay: more security vulnerability. The increase of mobile market also gives way to the growth of malicious adware which the most common threat in the mobile world.
Security researchers have discovered through Google Play that there are a great number of malicious applications which are affecting millions of Android users through adware.
What is Adware?
Android users are no longer new to unwanted intrusions and derails in their operating systems. However, security researchers believe that Adware is the most sinister threat in the mobile world to date.
But what exactly is Adware?
Adware is a type of software which can display or download advertising materials such as pop-ups and banners automatically or as soon as the user goes online. This may not sound dangerous but this vulnerability could lead to more dangerous threats to users.
The Android Adware found through the security research is a major hazard for user privacy. Users just download applications without checking that many ad networks can then access their personal info such as phone number, contacts, and email address. The ad networks can use these details in many ways, depending on their location and its legality in the area.
Google Play Displays 15 Million Adware Downloads
The Avast Security firm has discovered that there are three gaming applications on Google’s Play Store which are very popular and very dangerous.
These gaming apps can embed adware to the users’ devices when installed. The researchers have found that these games have been downloaded millions of times by unsuspecting Android users.
Although the infected gaming applications come from different developers, they share a common malicious software if downloaded.
The Adware-infected games are:
- Durak – a card game application
- Russian History
- IQ Test
The widest downloaded application among the three is the Durak card game. The application has been downloaded and installed for over 10 million times. When the three gaming apps are combined, it totals to over 15 million installation.
What Happens to Adware Infected Users?
After the users install the apps on their smart phones, they will see malicious apps displaying advertising campaigns which are mock up warning messages.
Thirty days before spamming out advertisements, the users will be seeing ads pop up whenever they will unlock their mobile devices. The ads can be anything from a warning that their device has been infected, it could show porn, or a message saying the device needs to update.
When the users have fallen prey into this false warning, they will be rerouted to a malicious website which can inflict even more harm. The users may be led to subscribe to a premium SMS service that they have no need or interest for. The malicious apps may lure the victims into keying in more sensitive data without giving any added value to the user in exchange.
Surprisingly, the security measures set by Google fail to detect the adware or the affected applications.
Al that is left for users to do is perform a regular health check for their devices, refrain from downloading too many applications, and be more vigilant when it comes to the links and sites they visit.
The switch to the mobile internet world shows no sign of slowing down and with this, the possibility of adware and additional threats is sure to continue.