Report reveals over 200 Android apps carrying adware that were installed 150 million times

Report reveals over 200 Android apps carrying adware that were installed 150 million times
A report from Check Point Research (via ArsTechnica)  focuses on a new strain of adware called SimBad that was found in 206 apps in the Google Play Store. These apps collectively had been installed over 150 million times, and Google has since removed the titles from the Play Store. The apps, once installed, would flood a user's phone with ads playing in the background, even if the app wasn't open.

Additionally, these infected apps could force the user's browser to visit a website selected by the attacker with instructions coming from the attacker's server. And to make it harder for users to uninstall these titles, their icons would disappear from the launcher.

The adware was named SimBad because most of the apps it was found on were simulator games. While considered adware now, Check Point says that the infrastructure is there for it to "evolve into a much larger threat." The infected app installed the most was a title called Snow Heavy Excavator Simulator with 10 million downloads. A number of titles each had 5 million installs including Fire Truck Emergency Driver, Ambulance Rescue Driving and Car Parking Challenge.

Even though Google has removed the apps from the Play Store, if you installed any of the infected apps, it could still causing havoc with your device. To see if your phone still has one of these apps installed, check the list found in the appendix of Check Point's report.

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7 Comments

1. f_u_006

Posts: 122; Member since: Mar 19, 2014

Glad modern Android phones ask for permission for variety of activities, otherwise apps would've had more freedom (which isn't the case unless the user deliberately or somehow inadvertently allows unusual permission requests).

2. RevolutionA

Posts: 490; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

Glad I don't use Android at all...

3. vgking9699

Posts: 217; Member since: Mar 01, 2019

Exactly Asking permissions doesn’t do s**t for adware that’s not gonna show itself and ask you for permission to infect your phone

6. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Not gonna show itself and ask for permissions? It still needs to ask for permissions and they can't be granted without user intervention. Sure the adware part can be hidden, but not the permission requests

4. NateDiaz

Posts: 1092; Member since: Mar 03, 2018

Good.

5. cmdacos

Posts: 4326; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Are the ads this adware presents any worse than the barrage of ads on a website, say, like this one?

7. drazwy

Posts: 361; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

I see a trend with the app names listed in the article. Points back to one developer. Find the author and every employee working for them and chop their heads off. I think we'll start to see a reduction.

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