In an effort to de-list fraudulent bounty requests, tech giant Google has removed 22 apps from the Google Play Store. According to the reports, the 22 apps were malicious and were reportedly installed by Android users for over 2 million times. Also Read - Information Technology Rules, 2021: Govt Announces Guidelines to Regulate Social Media, OTT Platforms | Key Points
Given the alarming number of targeted users, Google ensured that the spread of the malware was contained from its end. The apps contained a device-draining backdoor that allowed them to secretly download files from a remote server and were found to be used to virtually ‘click’ on online ads and generate revenues for the attackers. Also Read - Facebook Says It Will Pay USD 1 Billion over 3 Years To News Industry
Not just on androids but the fraudulent apps had gripped a variety of iOS phones too by pretending to be other apps running on these phones. Appearing inside the hidden browser window in the form of ads, the bogus apps avoided user attention while generating fake ad clicks on false user interaction. The action was executed all of the time, irrespective of the usage of the app by the users. Also Read - Australia Passes Landmark Law to Make Google, Facebook Pay For News
The users were alerted when a high drainage of their phone’s battery was noticed along with a high consumption of data. Sparkle FlashLight, Snake Attack, Math Solver, ShapeSorter, Tak A Trip, Magnifeye, Join Up, Zombie Killer, Space Rocket, Neon Pong, Just Flashlight, Table Soccer, Cliff Diver, Box Stack, Jelly Slice, AK Blackjack, Color Tiles, Animal Match, Roulette Mania, HexaFall, HexaBlocks and PairZap are the 22 malicious apps that Google removed in the last week of November.
ArsTechnica reported the removal of these apps after it received the information from security researchers of antivirus provider, Sophos, who discovered the malicious nature of these apps. While Google has done its bit to control the malware, users who still have these apps installed on their devices won’t be free of them until they have been removed.