Millions of Android users are facing yet another urgent alert about the apps they have installed on their smartphones. This time there’s a nasty batch of applications that have been found to contain highly irritating adware which not only slows down devices but also rakes in huge sums of money for cyber thieves.
Security experts at McAfee’s Mobile Research Team say they discovered a total of 38 dodgy apps on Google’s Play Store which all claimed to offer Minecraft-style gaming.
However, once downloaded, instead of giving users hours of brick-building fun they actually filled phones with that annoying adware. This type of bug secretly runs adverts in the background of the device with the owner never actually knowing their phone is being bombarded with paid-for messaging.
All the apps have now been banned by Google but not before they were downloaded over 34 million times. That makes a very serious issue.
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“Minecraft’s popularity has led to many attempts to recreate similar games,” explained McAfee’s Dexter Shin. “As a result, there are so many games with the same concept as Minecraft worldwide. Even on Google Play, we can easily search for similar games. McAfee Mobile Research Team recently discovered 38 games with hidden advertising. These HiddenAds applications discovered on the Google Play Store and installed by at least 35 million users worldwide, have been found to send packets stealthily for advertising revenue in bulk.”
If you are worried that you may have installed a bad application then you can find the full the list via McAfee’s blog post.
Below are nine of the most popular and if you have these on your device you need to consider removing them without delay.
• Block Box Master Diamond • Downloaded 10 million times
• Craft Sword Mini Fun • Downloaded 5 million times
• Block Box Skyland Sword – Downloaded 5 million times
• Craft Monster Crazy Sword – Downloaded 5 million times
• Block Pro Forrest Diamond – Downloaded 1 million times
• Block Game Skyland Forrest – Downloaded 1 million times
• Block Rainbow Sword Dragon – Downloaded 1 million times
• Craft Rainbow Mini Builder – Downloaded 1 million times
• Block Forrest Tree Crazy – Downloaded 1 million times
So how do you keep yourself from future attacks such as this latest adware?
McAfee says that all Android users must check the app reviews before downloading and installing anything new on to phones.
Another top tip is to look at the performance of the device. If things have slowed since any new software was installed there could be a problem.
News of this latest block comes just weeks after Google banned another 36 applications from the Play Store.
That attack also installed adware along with malware that could allow hackers to see data such as Wi-Fi history, what Bluetooth devices are connected to a phone, which apps are being used and even look at nearby GPS locations.
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