Google Android malware has been under the spotlight frequently over the last few weeks. Today is no different: Security researchers at Trend Micro have revealed that the Google Play Store hosted 85 apps ridden with adware. Worse still, these apps have netted more than 8 million downloads.
The adware-ridden apps were posing as legitimate services focusing on gaming or photography. You can find a list of the apps here.
Adware is malware that hides on your device and serves you unwanted advertisements. But the adware discovered by Trend Micro isn’t quite what you’d expect, according to the researchers.
Aside from showing advertisements that are difficult to close, it employs “unique techniques to evade detection through user behavior and time-based triggers,” according to Ecular Xu, mobile threat response engineer at Trend Micro.
The malicious apps hide their icon and create a shortcut on your phone’s home screen around 30 minutes after they are installed. This stops them from being uninstalled by simply dragging and dropping the icon to the “uninstall” section.
The adware apps use “Java reflection”–which allows the app’s runtime behavior to be inspected or modified–to remain hidden.
Meanwhile, in order to display unwanted advertisements, the app registers a broadcast receiver to check if the user has unlocked the device. Once conditions are met, the ads are displayed on a full screen. Users have to watch the entire the ad before they can close it or go back to app itself.