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3 Android adware Apps 'infects millions' of phones and tablets

Researchers from Security firm Avast has pointed out three popular gaming apps on Google Play store that actually infect users’ device with "adware" when installed. What’s interesting about this Android adware is that some of the apps have already been downloaded over a Million times.

The three apps found free in the Play Store include "Durak" card game app, "IQ Test" app and "Russian History" app. The apps are from different developers, but each has the same malicious software installed.

Durak card game app alone has 5 to 10 million installs, and the combination of all the three apps have more than 15 Million installs, according to the data on Google Play Store.

Once installed on users smartphone, the malicious apps display advertisements disguised as warning messages to end users when they unlock their Android smartphones, according to a blog post published Tuesday by antivirus provider Avast.

"When you install Durak, it seems to be a completely normal and well working gaming app," says Avast researcher Filip Chytry. "This was the same for the other apps, which included an IQ test and a history app. This impression remains until you reboot your device and wait for a couple of days. After a week, you might start to feel there is something wrong with your device."

After almost 30 days before starting to spam out adverts, users will suddenly start seeing ads appear every time they unlock their device. These ads will warn them that their device is infected or full of porn or needs an update, which is, no doubt, a complete gag.
But, if you approve, you'll be redirected to malicious pages that could cause even more harm and potentially result in you being signed up for a premium SMS service that you have no interest in, and even in installing apps that simply collect your personal data for comfort while offering you no additional value.


For those not familiar with adware, adware is a software that automatically displays or downloads advertising material like banners or pop-ups when a user is online. Doesn’t sound dangerous, Right? But adware could result in a serious threat to users.
Android Adware can pose a major threat to users' privacy, since some ad networks gather personal information like phone number, email address, and many more. Depending on where the ad network is based, there might be no legal guidelines for how that information could be used.

Inflated numbers
Although Google Play's own site indicated the software had been downloaded many millions of times, one security researcher was cautious about the figures.
"I would take the numbers with a pinch of salt because one thing that malware authors might do is deliberately up the amount of downloads in order to make an app appear more popular than it really is," said Dr Steven Murdoch from University College London's information security research group.
"Google does scan for malware that it knows about and it also has some more advanced techniques to detect malicious behaviour.
"But these don't work 100% of the time and some apps do slip through the checks - and there is a continual cat and mouse game of people looking for malware and the authors trying to bypass the checks."

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