Almost one million people have downloaded malicious software that can throttle the performance of your Android smartphone and deplete the battery. The apps – and there are a staggering 50 of the blighters in total – were discovered by security researchers at Check Point. All of the malicious apps are designed to look benign to trick people into downloading them from the Google Play Store. So be aware.
If you already have one of the applications on your device, we’d recommend removing it as soon as possible. Despite the actions taken b Google, they won’t remove the software from your device remotely. That’s down to you. The scam software is designed to flood your smartphone with advertisements to earn revenue for the hackers.
“Although Google has taken steps to secure its Play store and stop malicious activity, hackers are still finding ways to infiltrate the app store and access users’ devices,” the research team at Check Point wrote in the blog post. “Check Point’s researchers have identified a new malware family that [has been] downloaded almost 1 million times worldwide.”
In total, there are 56 apps named and shamed in the latest report. Almost half (24) were aimed at tricking children into downloading the software by disguising them as puzzle or racing games. The remaining 32 apps are made up of utility and productivity apps, as well as cooking apps, calculators, downloaders and translators.
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When the apps are downloaded onto your phone, the software fakes clicks on the banner adverts within the apps. By mimicking a user tapping on the advertisement, the software will generate revenue for the teams behind the malicious apps.
But while this is an extremely effective way to line the pockets of the developers behind the scam software, it is terrible for the battery life of your smartphone. If your phone struggles to make it to the end of the day, deleting one of these apps could seriously help boost your battery.
“This campaign cloned legitimate popular applications to gain an audience, mostly with children, as most application covers for the malware are children’s games,” researchers wrote. “The good news is, these infected applications have all been removed from Google Play.”
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Although the apps are no longer available in the Play Store, if you – or your kid – previously downloaded the app, they will still be available on your smartphone or tablet and could be hammering the performance and ruining the battery life.