A new warning has been issued to Android users by security researchers, regarding the safety of 38 popular smartphone apps.
Addressing the safety concerns, Google recently removed more than 30 popular apps from its Play Store after the software was found to spam users with adverts, as well as intrusive browser redirects.
These redirects would take Android users to websites without them clicking on a link first.
More than 500,000 downloads
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A team of researchers at security firm WhiteOps first discovered the malicious apps, and believes a criminal group was responsible for them.
The malware first started being uploaded back in January 2019 and mainly targeted the beauty and selfie market on Google's Play Store.
When these attacks began, Google's protection service was quick to remove the majority of the apps in question, taking only a couple of weeks to delete them after they had been uploaded.
Yet, despite their short life on the Play Store, the apps were still downloaded more than 500,000 times.
Later, in September 2019, the criminals began changing tactics, adding new threats to the Play Store. New apps began obscuring their own malicious code or outright deleting it, allowing the apps to go undetected by Google’s security teams.
To avoid the nasty adware being re-enabled Google has now removed a selection of 38 apps from its store. These 38 apps have been downloaded a combined total of 20 million times since they first appeared in the marketplace.
Addressing the threat, WhiteOps said, “What these apps all have in common - besides their fraudulent tactics - is their focus on beauty.
“In the time since that first app was published, the fraudsters published a new app every 11 days on average. And on average, those apps were pulled down from the Play Store 17 days later.
"These numbers tell a story of a cat and mouse game, in which the Play Store hunts down the fraudster and keeps them in check by removing fraudulent apps as quickly as they’re discovered.
“The fraudster likely developed a more robust mechanism to avoid detection and removal. A batch of 15 apps, all published after September 2019, had a much slower removal rate using those new techniques."
WhiteOps have advised anyone who has these apps currently installed on their devices to remove them as soon as possible.
Full list of dangerous apps removed by Google
• Yoroko Camera - INSTALLS 100,000
• Solu Camera - INSTALLS 500,000
• Lite Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 1 million
• Beauty Collage Lite - INSTALLS 500,000 -
• Beauty & Filters Camera - INSTALLS 1 million
• Photo Collage & Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 100,0000
• Beauty Camera Selfie Filter - INSTALLS 10,000
• Gaty Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 500,000
• Pand Selife Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 50,000
• Catoon Photo Editor & Selfie Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 1 million
• Benbu Selife Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 1 million
• Pinut Selife Beauty Camera & Photo Editor - INSTALLS 1 million
• Mood Photo Editor & Selife Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 500,000
• Rose Photo Editor & Selfie Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 1 million
• Selife Beauty Camera & Photo Editor - INSTALLS 100,000
• Fog Selife Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 100,000
• First Selife Beauty Camera & Photo Editor - INSTALLS 5000,000
• Vanu Selife Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 100,000
• Sun Pro Beauty Cameraa - INSTALLS 1 million
- Funny Sweet Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 500,000
• Little Bee Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 1 million
• Beauty Camera & Photo Editor Pro - INSTALLS 1 million
• Grass Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 1 million
• Ele Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 1 million
• Flower Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 100,000
• Best Selfie Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 1 million
• Orange Camera - INSTALLS 500,000
• Sunny Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 1 million
• Pro Selfie Beauty Camera - INSTALLS 500,000
• Selfie Beauty Camera Pro - INSTALLS 1 million
• Elegant Beauty Cam-2019 - INSTALLS 50,000