IT security solutions provider Quick Heal Security Lab discovered 27 malicious apps of dropper category on the official “Google Play Store”. When reported, Google removed them from the Play Store that encouraged the users to uninstall them on their devices, too. According to the security provider, these 27 apps always show installation prompt for fake “Google Play Store”.
If the user installs the fake app then their phone gets infected by an Adware. The parent apps launch dropped apps without the need for the user’s permission. In the beginning, the app will show a few wallpapers later it hides its icon so that the users could not identify which app is showing the advertisements.
Inadvertently the user uninstalls the parent app, but it will continue to show full screen adds at random.
According to Quick Heal, “These Apps were published by the same developer with name “AFAD Drift Racer”. All these apps belong to the free Car Racing Games category.”
After the user installs the app it will constantly display an installation prompt of fake Google Play Store that asks the user to install Google Play Store for gaming purpose. If the user terminates the installation prompt it will again pop-up endlessly until the user installs the app. But as a matter of fact, for gaming purposes Google Play Games is necessary. If any game is not supported by the latest version of Google Play Games, then there is a pop-up to update “Google Play Games” therefore passing the security protocol is important. Actually, Google Play Games by no means downloads itself nor does it show a pop-up for installation.
“After installing the fake Google Play Store app, we can see it for a few seconds and then it automatically hides its icon. The app keeps on running in the background and shows full-screen ads till you don’t uninstall it manually. Showing aggressive ads and making money from them is a monetization concept used by malware authors. In this case, even if the user is not using the app, still full-screen ads are shown. This not only degrades user experience but also wastes his time.”
Quick Heal Mobile Security notices these apps by detection the name “Android.Dropper.F” and the dropped apps by detection name “Android.HiddenAd.A”.
The user can also check if a fake Google Play Store is installed on their phone by following these steps:
- Go to Setting-> Apps & notifications OR Settings -> App Manager. This would change as per your Phone Manufacturer.
- Identify fake Google Play Store as shown below. Genuine Google Play Store app can never be uninstalled and shows the option of disable instead.
- If such a Google Play Store app is found on your phone, you should Uninstall it immediately.
How to stay safe from fake mobile apps
1. Check an app’s description before you download it.
2. Check the app developer’s name and their website. If the name sounds strange or odd, you have all the reasons to suspect it.
3. Go through the reviews and ratings of the app. But, note that these can also be faked.
4. Avoid downloading apps from third-party app stores.
5. Use a reliable mobile antivirus that can prevent fake and malicious apps from getting installed on your phone.
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