These 17 apps on Google Play Store can steal your personal data

  • These 17 apps on Google Play Store can steal your personal data

These 17 apps on Google Play Store can steal your personal data

All these apps are part of a larger campaign of HiddenAds.

Google Play is said to have at least 17 apps that are a part of a Trojan family called HiddenAds, if cybersecurity firm Avast is to be believed.

These apps were detected and reported by Avast, one of the global giants in digital privacy and security, probably famous for its Antivirus software used by millions.

In total, the apps carrying the Trojan HiddenAds have been downloaded more than 1.5 crore times. Active virus a few dozen mobile games. Even once the user removes the app from their device, the ads will be continually served.

Google needs to up its game in combating malicious apps on the Play Store based on Avast's latest findings. "The user is allowed to play the game for a set period of time, after which the timer triggers the hide icon feature of the app", explained Avast Threat Operations Analyst Jakub Vávra, in a blog post. Through this analysis, Avast was able to find the campaign by comparing their similar activities, features and network traffic. Apps also kept a close watch on the search done through the browser.

It's likely you'll know when one of these apps is installed due to the intrusive ads appearing on your device. The reviews for these apps will often be extremely negative, citing excessive ads or low functionality of the alleged app features. "Campaigns like HiddenAds may slip into the Play Store by obfuscating their true goal or slowly introducing malicious features once already downloaded by users". Bot mitigation company White Ops in its research paper published earlier this month also revealed that Google removed at least 38 apps from its Google Play store that infested Android devices with out-of-context advertisements. It's also very hard to prevent them because developers of such apps use one-off accounts for each app. How users can recognize adware appsAdware is a type of malicious software that bombards a user with excessive ads in and outside of an app. Adware apps are often hard to recognize, as they are often disguised as entertainment apps like gaming apps, for example. However, the reviews of such apps will often be highly negative, complaining about serving a lot of ads and having low functionality. However, spotting them before download can be hard because they look like a legitimate app.