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Google notified of 21 adware gaming apps on Play Store

Off the 21 apps,19 are still available on the Play Store.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

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Cybersecurity firm Avast has discovered 21 adware gaming apps on Google’s Play Store, and reported them to search giant, and Google is investigating the reports.

Off the 21 apps containing advertising supported software that automatically displays unwanted advertisements, 19 are still available on the Play Store.

They have been downloaded about eight million times, according to the data by mobile app marketing intelligence and insights firm, Sensor Tower.

The apps contain adware which is part of the HiddenAds family, displaying intrusive ads, luring users into downloading the adware by posing as gaming apps.

Numerous user reviews on Google Play Store mentioned that sports, puzzle, car and helicopter gaming apps that contain HiddenAds adware were advertised to them on YouTube, promising a different game than what was offered.

Avast explained the apps promised to virtually let users fly across the road, trees, hills to shoot criminals from a helicopter, or for household enthusiasts, allow players to virtually iron their clothes.

After the download, advertisements started flooding their phones.

“Developers of adware are increasingly using social media channels, like regular markets would,” Jakub Vavra, Threat Analyst at Avast said in a statement.

“The popularity of these social networks make them an attractive advertising platform, also for cybercriminals, to target a younger audience.”

The HiddenAds is a Trojan disguised as a safe and useful application which repurposes the existing gaming applications by adding aggressive HiddenAds features. Identifying the adware becomes difficult since it hides their icons and display relevant looking advertisements.

However, users can avoid falling prey to such apps by checking if the apps’ developer account has only one app on Google Play. Additionally, they can read app permission requests and reviews, which usually contain low rating and cite functionality issues along with excessive ads.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 2:03:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/google-notified-of-21-adware-gaming-apps-on-play-store/article32942204.ece

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