A New Batch of Android Adware Apps Discovered by Avast

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated June 23, 2021

Another adware campaign that was active on the Google Play Store has been discovered, and it involves 47 apps that account for a total of 15 million downloads. The discovery was the work of Avast researchers, who noticed similarities with previous “HiddenAds” campaigns and also had their suspicions confirmed through user reviews on the Play Store. All of these apps are masquerading as games that hide their icons and push obtrusive ads to the infected device.

google reviews

Source: Avast blog

If you have any of the following apps installed on your device, remove them immediately:

According to the research data, the countries that were most impacted by this adware campaign are India, Turkey, Portugal, and the South East Asia region in general. Avast drew some stats from its clientele and found that Brazil, India, and Turkey were victimized in these last two weeks.

infection map

Source: Avast blog

These adware apps all start by allowing the user to play the game for a pre-determined period. Then, the app icon is hidden, and the ads bombardment begins. The ads appear outside the app and are non-skippable. These apps can be uninstalled, but the user will have to figure out which app is the culprit and locate it manually. Avast noticed that all of these apps were the sole software project of a developer, possibly to avoid having the campaign taken down at once. In all cases, the email address and the Terms of Service provided by the developer were generic.

Remember, these apps were all available on the Google Play Store, which means that you should never blindly trust anything that’s on the official app store. Read the ten most recent reviews, check the developer details, carefully handle permission requests, and use an up-to-date antivirus app from a reputable vendor. Adware infections aren’t the worst that you can stumble upon, but they can nevertheless be costly and annoying. Google has removed the above adware apps by now, but you may still have them installed on your device.

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