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Google deletes 22 Android apps with hidden virus

Google deletes 22 Android apps

After Sophos, a cybersecurity company that makes security apps wrote a blog post about it, Google has deleted 22 apps from the Play store. The apps were deemed malicious like a computer or mobile virus and had a backdoor built into them that helped the apps do ad-fraud. Collectively these 22 apps were downloaded by over 2 million times before they were deleted.

As per a blog post by antivirus provider Sophos, 19 apps, which were made available from June this year, included from the beginning a “device-draining backdoor” that enabled them to download files from a server controlled by an attacker, without the user’s knowledge. However, Sparkle Flashlight and two other apps were updated in March 2018 to add the backdoor.

Sophos in its investigation found that the apps linked to Andr and Clickr-ad network. The security company wrote that the this "is a well-organized, persistent malware that has the potential to cause serious harm to end users, as well as the entire Android ecosystem" because "these apps generate fraudulent requests that cost ad networks significant revenue as a result of the fake clicks."

What does that mean for users? Sophos in its blog post explained the harm these apps can cause to people's phones. "From the user’s perspective, these apps drain their phone’s battery and may cause data overages as the apps are constantly running and communicating with servers in the background. Furthermore, the devices are fully controlled by the C2 server and can potentially install any malicious modules upon the instructions of the server," the company.

Google said in a statement last week that it takes “deceptive and malicious behavior” on the platform seriously, and if an app violates it, then they take action. The statement was issued as the search giant removed Kika Keyboard and CM File Manager apps from China’s Cheetah Mobile, from Play Store over malicious and deceptive behavior.

As far as the 22 apps that you should not have on your phone, here is the list:

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, PairZap.

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