There is a real problem of malware being on the Google Play Store and the company, sort of, acknowledges it as well. This is via the route of removing apps found with malware from their store as soon as possible. However, we see that the malware apps are getting very frequent nowadays and most of it has to do with ads. While the apps generally don’t have malware installed, they show ads which installs malware on someone’s phone.
Now, this is a cause of concern because less-savvy users would click on an enticing ad and they would have malware installed which would cause issues on their device. Similarly, a new malware case has been revealed regarding free VPN apps, four of them in total. These apps were installed by millions of users, 500M+ to be exact. This means that they would have been used on a daily basis by 10% of them which also rounds down to a staggering 5M users.
It is reported that these apps showed disruptive ads to Android users. The apps are said to be from Hong Kong and China where the users need to have a VPN to bypass the Great Wall of China and access services like Twitter, Google and others. The apps we are talking about are Hotspot VPN, Free VPN Master, Secure VPN, and Security Master by Cheetah Mobile. More concerning fact is that the adware was found on VPN and antivirus apps which users trust to remove malware from their phones. Instead, they were installing malware on user’s phones while banking on user trust for doing so.
The security researcher revealed that installing the apps only would be enough by adding that “If the apps were force stopped from Android settings, they stop serving ads,”” Opening the app once after downloading will usually trigger the behaviour.”