Home Cyber Attack 21 More Android Apps Part Of HiddenAds Campaign – 3 Still Available On Play Store

21 More Android Apps Part Of HiddenAds Campaign – 3 Still Available On Play Store

by Abeerah Hashim
Joker malware as Smart TV Remote app

Once again, malicious apps barraging users with ads have flooded the Android Play Store. This time, the researchers spotted 21 different Android apps constituting the HiddenAds campaign.

More Android Apps With HiddenAds Spotted

Researchers from Avast have discovered another wave of malicious Android apps as part of the HiddenAds malware campaign.

As elaborated in their blog post, they found 21 different apps that exhibited malicious behavior. All of them contained the adware from HiddenAds family. Consequently, they barraged users with ads even when the apps were not in use.

These apps together boasted millions of downloads, which means they targeted millions of Android users globally. According to SensorTower, these apps had around 8 million downloads.

Most of them impersonated various game apps and puzzles, hence, alluring users from various groups.

Soon after downloading the apps, the users noticed an increased appearance of annoying ads on their devices. They also clearly mentioned this behavior in their reviews.

The complete list of all 21 apps discovered as part of the latest campaign is available here.

Google Removed All But 3

A quick look at the list of 21 apps shows that Google has removed a majority of these apps from the Play Store. Hence, they won’t be posing a threat to new users.

However, three of these continue to exist on the Play Store (until the time of writing this article). These include the following,

  • Shoot Them (1,000,000+ installs)
  • Find 5 Differences – 2020 NEW (100,000+ installs)
  • Find the Differences – Puzzle Game (100,000+ installs)

Thus, users with various game apps on their devices must check if they have any of these 21 apps on their devices. If found, make sure to get rid of them at the earliest.

Regarding how to avoid falling prey to such malware, Jakub Vávra, Threat Analyst at Avast, said,

While Google is doing everything possible to prevent HiddenAds from entering its Play Store, the malicious apps keep finding new ways to disguise their true purpose, thus slipping through to the platform and then to users’ phones.
Users need to be vigilant when downloading applications to their phones and are advised to check the applications’ profile, reviews, and to be mindful of extensive device permission requests.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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