Android adware disguised as game, TV, remote control Apps infects 9 million Google Play users

85 apps in Google Play that collectively have been installed nine million times by users all over the world came with an adware strain capable of showing full screen adverts at regular intervals or when the user unlocks the device.

None of the apps had real functionality and their true purpose was to make money for their developer by dropping a deluge of advertisements on the devices that installed them. The fake apps were disguised as games (car simulators), apps for streaming television channels from various countries (Brazil, Canada, South Africa, Spain), or posed as remote controllers for TV sets.

Google has now removed 85 such Apps. While the apps were uploaded on the Play Store from different developer accounts and were signed by different digital certificates, they exhibited similar behaviors and shared the same code, the most popular of the fraudulent apps was Easy Universal TV Remote, last updated on November 12, 2018. It is unclear how long it survived in Google Play, but it accumulated over five million installations.

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