We just told you about that fake Uber app that steals user and credit card info. Thanks to Symantec for the warning and as the software company continues to check for more, another group has just reported a similar problem. Check Point recently made it known to us that an adware has been roaming the Google Play Store. Most of the apps in question are utility and flashlight apps that are mostly in demand this winter season.
If you happen to have downloaded one the past few weeks, you may want to check if it is an adware. Check Point researchers called the problem ‘LightsOut’ and the code is found to be hidden in about 22 different apps. Estimated downloads are anything between 1.5M to 7.5M downloads.
Looking at the code further, developers noted the script works by overriding the option to disable ads. It can’t be easily removed because the icon is hidden. It’s pretty much a dubious and malicious activity, with its main goal of tricking the mobile user and generating ad revenue. Obviously, it’s illegal. The researchers already reported that apps to Google for removal.
This is one annoying problem and deception because people are forced to click on the ads at times. They usually pop up when there are incoming calls.
To be more specific, the malicious app shows a checkbox or a control panel to the users where they can enable/disables some services. It has many triggers and all of them are very common like the screen being locked, plugging in a charger, ending a call, or turning on the WiFi connection. Disabling such functions will actually “override” the supposed action and ads will then be displayed.
The malicious code and apps have been removed by Google from the Play Store but there may still be a few apps out there that have something similar. These hackers are too clever and discreet but good thing there are dev groups and researchers out there like Check Point who get out of their way and take time in making sure all Android apps are “clean”.