Google Play Store has a library of millions of apps onboard, and any compromise on their part has the potential to severely impact the privacy and security of its users. Despite Google’s efforts, the problem of spam and scam apps in the Android Play Store isn’t going away anytime soon.
Take this for example: Google has removed 85 notorious adware apps from the Play Store after being highlighted by researchers.
The researchers are a part of Trend Micro — a security solutions company. According to a blog post published on their website, they found an adware by the name of AndroidOS_Hidenad.HRXH. This adware not only displays advertisements that are difficult to close, it also uses unique techniques to circumvent detection with the help of users as well as time-based triggers.
These adwares were commonly seen on photography apps like Pop Camera, Cos Camera, Super Selfie, and games like One Stroke Line Puzzle etc and have been downloaded by users over 8 million times.
According to the aforementioned report, even though the apps were published on the Play Store from different developers, as well as signed by different digital certificates, they possessed the same code and revealed identical process. Users mostly affected by this are the ones on older versions of Android.
Google Play has held a bad reputation when it comes to issuing apps on its platform by affecting. Last week, Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology and the Ohio State University have found over 1600 vulnerabilities in the support ecosystem in over 5000 free apps available on Google’s Play Store.
These vulnerabilities were spotted in the backend systems that provide content and advertising to smartphone apps with the help of cloud-based servers.
A week before that, a finding by ESET Malware Researcher Lukas Stefanko revealed that Google Play Store hosted 205 harmful apps in the month of July, 2019 and these apps were downloaded over 32 million times in the month of July itself.