SimBad adware apps downloaded from Google Play almost 150 million times

Alfred Osborne
March 16, 2019

Android Q will prevent apps from launching an activity while in the background so you don't suddenly find an app jump in front of what you're doing.

Each of those named apps had more than five million installs at the time the research was carried out, with Snow Heavy Excavator Simulator having been downloaded more than 10 million times.

For that reason, he added, "consumers should adopt basic cautionary practices to beef up their mobile security hygiene, such as knowing who develops the apps they download, being generally aware of the privileges apps have by actually reading EULAs and running some form of mobile security software to confirm things are behaving appropriately". It was found that numerous antivirus apps instead of scanning the apps, simply used a whitelist/blacklist approach based on package names than relying on the code for deciding whether an app is risky or harmless. That means a modelling app could be used to create 3D images or support AR photography. Not that it won't do anything for the app developers.

Would you use AntiVirus that detect itself as risky app?

Whereas some of these blacklisted apps are just posers doing nothing other than duping users and cashing in on their ignorance and vulnerability, others are outright risky as they even got flagged by other malware-detection apps.

AV-Comparatives said, most Android antivirus apps were phoney, and many of them seemed to have been created only to display ads or promote a developer's career.

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But out of 250 apps, only 23 of them were able to detect all 100 percent of the malware samples. Others are developed for ad purposes especially the free ones.

They did this some 2,000 times, for different apps and different viruses.

Use common sense plus this handy list we created for you. This is to ensure a consistent experience across the Play Store.

According to the tests, 138 of the apps detected less than 30 percent of the malware samples or had a tendency to falsely flag clean files as bad.

The report noted the irony of many antiviruses apps proving themselves as malware as a commentary on the pathetic state of affairs in the Android antivirus industry.

"First of all, you need to at least try to see if the apps have real usage, if the apps have been rated and if the provider of the apps is trustworthy", Cipot said. Majority reduce the efficiency of your phone, consume a lot of battery, annoy you with notifications and take up a lot of your storage.

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